Village fire service ‘in pretty strong position’

Belford Fire Station
Belford Fire Station

There have been no ‘life-risk’ fires in the last five years in Belford while the number of retained firefighters is healthy.

These were among the positive pieces of information shared with Belford parish councillors at their meeting last Thursday night.

Life-risk incidents are those in which someone dies, is injured or has to be rescued and while there had been no fires of this nature going back to 2010, the Belford crew has been involved in six life-risk special service calls, which are often road traffic accidents.

Over that period, 23 per cent of the calls that the village’s crew attended were false alarms (although this compares favourably to the county average of 40 per cent), 40 per cent were fires and 37 per cent were special service calls, which encompasses all other rescues.

Of the fires that they attended, 37 per cent were classed as small, such as wheelie bin fires or rubbish fires on open ground.

Asked about cover and how often the Belford crew is available, members heard that the establishment for single-pump retained stations such as Belford is 10 and currently there are 12 firefighters, which translates to nine-and-a-half full-time equivalents. However, some of the firefighters are likely to retire over the coming years.

Due to this position, the average unavailability of the Belford fire engine from 2010 to 2014 was just eight per cent.

Under the proposed changes to the retained service, which are being consulted on currently, there would be no change at Belford.