Firefighters currently based in Papworth Everard will soon be relocating to the fire station in Cambourne. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service believe that moving the fire engine will improve its fire cover in the area as there are more people in Cambourne to become on-call firefighters, who live or work within five minutes of the fire station.
Delayed fire emergency response
On-call firefighters are not based at a fire station, they go about their normal lives and wear an alerter which goes off if they are needed. They then immediately make their way to the fire station. Since the hospital moved out of Papworth, the fire service has struggled to have enough on-call firefighters available in the day as a number of the crew worked at the hospital and could respond from there.
This has meant that fire engines from neighboring towns have been sent instead to around half of all incidents in the area. Although they respond quickly, the extra travel time does cause more of a delay.
Change in the risk profile
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Jon Anderson explained, “When Cambourne fire station was built as part of the new town development in 2010, it was always intended that the fire engine from Papworth would eventually move to Cambourne. That is why we built it with a modern training facility too, something Papworth doesn’t have and it would cost thousands of pounds to bring Papworth up to a modern-day standard.”
“With the hospital gone, the risk profile of the area has also changed for us as it was always our greatest risk from fire. With the number of houses rapidly growing in Cambourne, the risk balance has tipped, and now is an appropriate time to make the move.”
Better incident response times
Jon continued, “The greatest driver for the move though is our belief that we can improve our response times to incidents in both Papworth and Cambourne. With a greater population of people to recruit on-call firefighters from, we stand a much better chance of having the fire engine available in daytime hours.”
“Being an on-call firefighter is incredibly rewarding. It is a paid role but many of our on-call firefighters join to support their local community and do something worthwhile alongside their main employment.”
The relocation of the station will begin in March and will take a few weeks to complete. During this time, the availability of the fire engine to respond will not be impacted. Following the relocation, the station will be fully decommissioned, with the site likely to be sold.
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