High-rise rescue unit may fall victim to cuts
WORRIED councillors have voiced concerns the region could lose a 'vital' high-rise rescue appliance in a fire authority review of resources.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) chiefs are assessing the need for special appliances across the county - including Slough's aerial ladder platform.
The appliance, used to cover Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead and South Bucks, can reach floors in high rise buildings that ladders on standard fire engines can't.
Slough Cllr Ted Plenty, who sits on the Fire Authority panel, said: "We are all very concerned that Slough could end up without an appliance that will be able to go higher than four floors.
"There's a lot of high rise buildings in Slough. The authority has to meet 20% cuts and has to look at where they make those savings."
The platform, which is due for renewal, would cost £750,000 to replace.
Nicole Targett, RBFRS spokeswoman, said: "We are reviewing all our specialist appliances and asking - 'is it giving the tax payer value for money'.
"We know Slough are concerned and interested in the result of the review. We have to look at what we can afford to replace."
The review is ongoing.
Michael Rowley, fire brigades union secretary at Windsor fire station, added: "We have to consider the high rises in the area, including Windsor Castle and hotels. Any reduction in services will have an effect on the time it will take for alternative equipment to arrive from elsewhere."
The next nearest station with an aerial ladder platform is Reading - 21 miles away from both Slough and Windsor. However that appliance is also under review.
Slough council leader, Rob Anderson, sent a letter to Royal Berkshire Fire Authority's Integrated Risk Management Plan Working Party, who are undertaking the review.
He expressed concerns about losing the appliance which would have a huge impact on response times, adding it is 'vital for the safety of fire crews and residents of Berkshire'.
This article appeared in Slough Observer 29 Jun 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Jun 30, 09:21
I'm sure the residents of Slough would much rather have a sparkling new Bus station and a tarted up train station than a silly old fire engine that saves peoples lives, give me strength!
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