By 2018, the majority of our fire stations had been in place for well over 30 years and the firefighter duty systems had not changed since the 1970s. The make-up of our communities and the way in which people live their lives had changed significantly since then. There had also been significant building development across Devon and Somerset with much more planned.
In 2019 we undertook detailed research and analysis to assess the risks in our communities. This research highlighted areas of our service that potentially needed to change and we developed a range of possible solutions. This was the start of a change programme we called Safer Together.
In June 2019 these options were presented to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Fire Authority for consideration. In July that year, we began a 12-week public consultation. During the consultation:
- we held 27 drop-in sessions - attended by nearly 2,000 people
- 3,818 responses were received - 3,232 completed questionnaires, 205 written submissions, and 381 email responses
- five petitions were submitted with a total of 43,644 signatures.
Fire Authority approval
After listening to staff suggestions, public feedback and considering how we needed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Service, we recommended a balanced set of proposals for consideration by the Fire Authority. At its meeting on 10 January 2020, the Fire Authority approved the changes.
By March 2021 most of the changes had been implemented.