West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) wants residents and businesses to give their views on proposals that could change the way the service operates.
It is aiming to improve the service it offers across the county while managing resources within a reduced budget.
Members of the public are being asked to comment on proposals that would help the fire and rescue service save £1.6million from its budget for 2015/16 without impacting on its response to emergencies or response standards.
• Keep all fire stations open, but change the way fire engines are crewed, introduce new shift patterns and reduce the overall number of staff, including firefighters.
• Keep the same number of immediate response fire engines, but move one from a temporary base to a permanent location and remove some second, and one third, appliance.
• Will support WSFRS with the prevention work it carries out, working closely with communities, professional partners and those most at risk.
• Allow for investment in specialist equipment and training to support communities during severe weather and widespread flooding.
A county wide consultation starts today (Monday June 2) and will run until 23 August 2014, before the proposals are considered by West Sussex County Council in September.
Details about the proposals will be given at all 14 County Local Committee meetings between June 10 and July 10. The dates and times of these meetings, which are open to the public, can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk
Consultation stands will also be set up at fire station open days.
Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, which includes the fire service, said: “We want to meet residents face to face in the community to talk about the proposed changes and to find out what local people think.
“Demand has changed and the types of incidents the service attends have also changed. We need to position the service to give the best response within the resources we have available. Above all we want to make the people of Sussex safer by changing the way West Sussex Fire and Rescue service operates in the future.”
Full copies of the consultation document will be available at West Sussex libraries and District and Borough Council offices. Electronic copies, and all the supporting technical documentation, is available on the fire service website: www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.
An online questionnaire is available at www.surveymonkey.com/s/FFR2015 and people can also write to Have Your Say, Future Fire Rescue, Freepost RSBK-CHTU-KGGG WSCC, Chichester, PO19 1RQ.
Lionel added: “We have been open about the savings that we need to make and are keen to make it clear to the public that we will not compromise the effectiveness of the service.”