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Hampshire Fire Service could replace fire engines with smaller vehicles

  • 9-17-2015

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service could replace most of its fire engines with smaller vehicles manned by two firefighters in a bid to save money.

Proposals put forward by the service could see up to 50 of the service's 76 fire engines replaced with a "diversified fleet".

Unions leaders said the plans could slow down efforts to tackle fires in burning buildings.

The changes could also see fewer crew members on duty at night in some areas.

Fire Brigades Union has criticised the vehicle plans as there have to be at least four firefighters at the scene to go into a burning building.

Hampshire secretary Gary Jackson, said: "We've got grave concerns about the proposals where the fire service are proposing to just have two firefighters on at night.

"Why does a fire at 3am deserve a lesser response than a fire at three o'clock in the afternoon?"

'New approach'

Currently one or two vehicles, each crewed by five firefighters, are sent to fires.

Neil Odin, deputy chief fire officer at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "The new approach, which is being used in Sweden, would see the building thermally scanned."

A high-pressure lance would then be used to drill a hole through the wall to start tackling a fire - instead of firemen going inside.

The changes are being proposed by the service as part of a £12.2m saving plan.

A public consultation on the proposals closes on 4 December.

The fire authority will decide if the plans should be put into effect in December.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC

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