THE Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has slammed a proposal to remove fire engines from stations in Worcestershire.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) has now launched a public consultation on a resource review.

Proposals that could see the loss of eight on-call engines in total, including one in Wyre Forest, were included in the report, as well as major changes to on-call units.

Neil Bevan, FBU Hereford and Worcester brigade secretary said: "These proposed cuts present a serious threat to public and firefighter safety.

"HWFRS is already stretched dangerously thin. Response times have hit a ten year high due to lack of resources. Meanwhile, we continue to respond to high numbers of flooding incidents year on year.

"The fire authority should be investing in the service, but instead they are proposing cutting it to the bone.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary added: "Residents of Hereford and Worcester deserve a fire service equipped to keep them safe. We now have fewer fire engines, stations and firefighters than ten years ago, after a decade of brutal austerity.

"Further cuts will threaten to push the service past breaking point".

HWFRS has "strongly refuted" all claims being made that the proposals in the Resource Review currently out for consultation "poses or threatens public safety" calling this "simply baseless scaremongering".

They said that the review "clearly outlines the changes proposed to fire stations with more than one fire engine and does not reduce or remove the first responding fire engine at any location". 

HWFRS chief fire officer Jon Pryce previously said: “These proposals are not cuts, as every penny saved will be reinvested in the staffing on the remaining fire engines to make them more resilient, and for some fire engines to have larger crew sizes.”

“This would mean more firefighters on the busiest first fire engines, and better availability of our remaining on-call fire engines, something which the Fire Brigades Union and staff have been asking for repeatedly for many years.

“The review does not propose closing any fire station, or removing or reducing any first fire engine, at any of our 25 fire stations".

The public consultation ends on Monday, March 4.