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Firefighters showcase shift system to the public
A FIRE station opened to the public this week to showcase a new shift system that aims to save £488,000 of taxpayers' money a year, without impacting on frontline services.
Next year, firefighters in Newton Aycliffe will follow in the footsteps of their colleagues in Liverpool, Royal Berkshire and many many other counties when they adopt the day crewing plus shift system.
And, on Monday, the public had the chance to find out more at an open day at the station, in Central Avenue.
The move, which has been prompted by cuts to Government funding and a large fall in incidents in the area, will see the existing four teams of six firefighters reduced to one large team of 14, who will be given a greater flexibility of shift patterns.
Instead of working two day and two evening shifts a week, the crew will no longer work at night but will be "on call" in a new accommodation block, which will be built next door.
Station manager Robin Turnbull said the system would allow firefighters to work longer day shifts to carry out work within the community. He stressed that it would not affect response times or the number of fire engines at station and that no one had been made redundant.
"The fact we are introducing this system demonstrates a long term commitment to the town, " he said.
"We are not scaling down our operations at Aycliffe we are actually strengthening the resilience of the service and ensuring we keep this facility here."