Firefighters in Lincolnshire have claimed that the proposed downgrading of a Lincoln fire station could increase 999 response times by as much as five minutes.
As previously reported, a consultation launched by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue on March 1 has proposed altering the shift patterns at Lincoln South fire station, so that firefighters are only on the base during the day and on call within five minutes at night.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has said that the changes would see the response time rise by an estimated two minutes between 6.30pm and 7.30am.
However, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Lincolnshire has said the move would put members of the public in danger with firefighters taking longer to get to an emergency.
Ben Selby, FBU chair in Lincolnshire, said: “The suggestion that our service needs to be cut back further because of the declining number of fires is dangerous and misleading.
“Firefighters are responding to a greater array of emergencies in Lincolnshire such as flooding and medical rescues. Even more worrying is the fact that response times to fires nationally are at a 20-year high.
“In an emergency every second counts. A five minute increase in response times may sound minimal but it can be the difference between life and death.
“It is irresponsible to take any action that could raise response times by that much. These proposals will leave a trail of devastation for public safety in our county.”
A petition calling for Lincoln South fire station to be saved has been set up.
Lincoln residents have also set up a Facebook page to fight the proposed changes.