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Mayfield Community Fire Station Consultation


East Sussex Fire Authority wants your views on the future of Mayfield On Call Community Fire Station

A consultation will run from 5 July 2024 until 27 September, with the findings considered at a Fire Authority meeting in December 2024. 

We recommend you read through all the information before going to the survey.

About our work  

We do more than simply respond to emergencies. We work to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place, and to protect people and property. We aim to do this by managing our resources, our budget and our people as effectively as possible.  

The risks faced by local communities are changing, and it has become harder to recruit on-call firefighters who can provide emergency cover at the times they are needed most. We keep the management of community risk including its fire stations and appliances under constant review. 

About Mayfield   

  • Mayfield is an On Call Fire Station and it is the lowest activity station within the service.
  • At On Call stations, crews tell the service when they are free or “available” to respond to emergencies.
  • There needs to be at least four members of a crew available for the fire engine to go out.
  • In 2023, it was available to respond to emergencies 6% of the time, instead of our target of 50%, and previous attempts at recruitment have not been successful. 

Options

The full Options Appraisal was presented to our Fire Authority in June.

The options consider several factors including Mayfield's contribution to overall service risk reduction and resilience, and proposed arrangements for maintaining public safety in the area currently served by Mayfield. 

Analysis for all the options shows we are still able to meet the Service attendance standards.

  • Option 1 – Maintain Mayfield as a single appliance On-Call fire station and uplift the availability to the Service’s minimum standard of 50% from the current 6% availability. 
  • Option 2 – Closure and sale of the fire station, keep the fire appliance and reinvest the revenue staff costs. This would enable the Service to reduce risk more effectively through an improved response capability. 
  • Option 3 – Closure and sale of the fire station and appliance, and reinvest staff costs. This would enable a redistribution of staffing resource to reduce risk more effectively through an improved response capability. 
  • Option 4 – Closure and sale of the fire station and appliance, and removal of the On-Call section as an additional saving to meet budget shortfall if required. 


Get Involved

Our survey asks questions including:  

  • Given the need to make savings, to what extent do you agree or disagree that ESFRS should consider the feasibility of fire stations that are used least often?   
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree that Mayfield Fire Station should be closed to reduce the need for savings elsewhere within the Service?   
  • Do you have any alternative solutions to address the challenges that you think should be considered? 

You can take part online here: www.opinionresearch.co.uk/ESFA

To request a paper copy you can: 

  • Email: consult@esfrs.org 
  • Telephone: 0303 999 1000 (available during office hours) 
  • Minicom: 01323 462 003 (available during office hours) 
  • Writing to:  
    • East Sussex Fire Authority – Mayfield Consultation 
    • C/O ESFRS Headquarters 
    • Church Lane 
    • Lewes 
    • BN7 2DZ 

Events are planned for the local area and online. These will be advertised on our social media channels or you can contact us to be added to a mailing list. 


Q and A Section

Why Mayfield? 

Mayfield was identified after we analysed stations on the basis of their contribution to overall Service resilience, their availability, crewing profile, the risk profile of the local area, incident activity and neighbouring fire station/appliance(s) capability. 

Further to this, earlier this year we carried out a high-level review which considered: 

  • Population and social demographic and built environment data; 
  • Current activity; 
  • Number of critical incidents within each station area; 
  • Time it takes for the fire appliance to attend incidents; 
  • Current fire appliance availability; 
  • Opportunities for securing firefighters within close proximity to the stations. 

What do we mean by risk? 

Risk is the assessment of the likelihood of an event occurring coupled with the potential severity if that event occurs. The impact of incidents is often wider than just those directly involved. For example, a fire in a business will have a knock-on effect to staff, customers, suppliers and the wider community. 

We want to reduce the risk, the likelihood and the consequence, for all those who may be affected by an incident. 
 
We bring together data and intelligence to look for patterns and trends. We also use our professional judgement and experience of the service, of partners and Government, alongside both national and local risk registers. 

What we mean by availability? 

Mayfield Community Fire Station is an on-call fire station. On-Call Firefighters carry pagers/alerters and make themselves “available” to respond to emergencies when they are able, however if there aren’t enough crew members who are available at the same time, the fire engine cannot be sent out. 

What does "fully competent" mean when referring to a firefighter? 

To put it simply, this is about ensuring firefighters have had the right training to safely do the job. This takes time and so new firefighters will need to complete certain training before being confirmed as a “fully competent” firefighter, able to carry out a full range of activities.  

Why make any changes?

By law we must produce a balanced budget. This means we cannot spend more than we receive. 

The forecast funding gap faced by the Fire Authority for 2025/26 is between £1.884m and £2.536m.

Savings of £14.047m have been or are planned to be taken between the period of 2010/11 and 2028/29. 

This still leaves the Fire Authority with a shortfall and we must now consider other proposals. 

Can I take part if I don’t live or work in Mayfield? 

Yes, we encourage everyone living, working or visiting East Sussex and Brighton and Hove to take part. 

What are your plans for events?

You may find this Fire Authority paper of interest as it sets out our plans for engagement: 240613 CFA Mayfield Options Appraisal Consultation and Comms Plan REPORT.pdf (moderngov.co.uk)

Broadly speaking there are two types of events as follows:

  1. Information events aimed at helping people understand the options and issues ahead of taking part in the survey.

We aim to publish dates within the next two weeks and these will be open to all. These will be a mix of face to face sessions and online sessions run by our own staff.

  1. Events aimed at capturing deliberative/ qualitative feedback. We have employed an independent company to help deliver these.

There will be three public focus groups enable face to face communication and an in-depth deliberative discussion on the options.

The participants are recruited in advance to match agreed criteria to ensure representative groups are included. Key advantages of these focus groups are:

• Participants can interact and “bounce” ideas and views off each other

• Enables a good geographic spread of participants

• Can allow for explanations of background issues

The same company will run an online stakeholder forum where deliberative/ qualitative information will be captured.

The stakeholder forum will be conducted online in real-time. There will be a presentation of the issues under consideration followed by a question and answer session.

The key advantages to this are that it provides an opportunity for many participants to take part easily and at no cost to them and enables an explanation of complex issues.


Fact File

 The following information has been gathered to give you an insight into Mayfield: 

ORH analysis shows that Mayfield is the lowest activity station within East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service between January 2022 and December 2023.

  • 103 incidents within the Mayfield station area within the 2 year period – average 52 per year  
  • During the 2 year period, there were 13 critical incidents (13%), none of which had Mayfield as the first-arriving appliance, 54% of critical incidents are RTCs.  
  • Crowborough was the first-arriving appliance to 55 (53%) out of the 103 incidents within the Mayfield station area, including nine of the 13 critical incidents.  
  • Mayfield was the first-arriving fire appliance on six occasions (6%) within its station area.  
  • There were 16 false alarms (39%).  
  • The availability (6.1%) of the Mayfield appliance during that time would have had minimal impact on the risk within the local area.  
  • Due to Mayfield appliance availability, the station area was being covered by neighbouring stations 93.9% of the time.