Fire service go-ahead with station’s closure

Wallsend Community Fire Station.'REF 2101148487
Wallsend Community Fire Station.'REF 2101148487

Wallsend Community Fire Station is to be closed as part of multi-million pound cuts by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue.

At a meeting on Monday,Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority discussed the options to change the service’s operational response and that included replacing Wallsend and Gosforth stations with a new community station in the Benton area, as well as 131 job losses.

The service said four targeted response appliances are to be introduced; staffed by two firefighters, to attend lower risk incidents such as false alarms, rubbish fires and derelict property fires.

Two of the targeted response appliances would be staffed 24 hours a day whilst the other two would be available 24 hours a day, but dual staffed. This would be supported by dynamic call handling by control room staff.

There will be the removal of six fire appliances and investment in new firefighting technologies to enhance performance and safety.

All fire stations with one fire appliance will be crewed by four firefighters, rather than five, in line with the existing staffing at stations with more than one fire appliances.

The change will happen over the next three years.

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling said: “There is no doubt that this continues to be a challenging time for the service.

“Following the fire authority’s decision we will begin to implement the changes in phases over the next three years.

“I believe we are one of the best, high performing fire and rescue services in the country, as well as the fastest; by implementing this option we will be able to maintain our quick response to incidents where lives are at risk, and where there is significant risk to property; however this will be by being slower at attending other low risk incidents.”

“The dedicated staff within this Fire Service are committed to protecting the public and together we will continue working towards our vision of creating the safest community.”