A CONCERNED resident says changes to the current fire cover arrangements in Evesham and the surrounding areas will will put residents at greater risk.

Rich Blake, a former fire fighter said: "These proposals in my opinion will reduce fire cover and I believe leave the residents of Evesham and the surrounding areas at greater risk due to the fact that neither of the two fire appliances at Evesham will be guaranteed from 08.00 to 18.00. Not only will the fire appliance not be guaranteed but neither will the boat at Evesham as none of the Retained are trained in it's use."

"The Rescue boat has been used extensively during times of flood in Evesham and the surrounding areas, also my more widely in other parts of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and surrounding counties.The next guaranteed Fire Appliance is 16 miles away at both Redditch and Worcester, all other stations in the Evesham area are Retained Fire Stations, this could mean that the residents of Evesham could be waiting 30 mins plus for Fire Appliance to attend a fire in Evesham."

A spokesperson from Hereford and Worcester Fire Service (HWFRS) explained: “The Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) 2014-2020 states that Evesham is one of the three fire stations within Hereford and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service that is permanently crewed during the day, and by on-call firefighters during the night; these are known as day crewed fire stations.”

“The current arrangement is that wholetime crews respond between 18:00 and 08:00 separately to the on-call staff, to meet the requirements set out in the CRMP.

Under the proposed cover, both wholetime and on-call staff will respond to the station as one combined unit to deal with any emergency. This model combines both crews to provide greater resilience, with staff responding to crew both appliances at Evesham. Therefore there is no reduction to the fire cover, nor to the skills currently available, including the rescue boats.”

“In addition to the availability of on-call firefighters, the current day crewed system at Evesham Fire Station requires wholetime staff to volunteer to be available for night-time cover, but this is no longer sustainable due to Working Time Regulations. Currently the Service is consulting with the crews and Representative Bodies at Evesham with a proposal to increase the number of staff available to respond to the station, when the Service receives an emergency call."

Hereford and Worcester Fire service added that after Mr Blake detailed concerns in a post on their facebook page, they invited him to to go to Evesham Fire Station to meet with the station commander, but are yet to receive a reply.