Big upgrade for local 999 teams

Harborough fire station will have its own full time firefighters. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Harborough fire station will have its own full time firefighters. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

From this week, the fire and rescue service in south Leicestershire starts a major improvement programme.

And that’s “good news” for people and businesses in Harborough.

Market Harborough Fire and Rescue station will be staffed by full time firefighters working seven days a week from this week.

And Lutterworth’s Fire and Rescue team will go full-time from March or April next year.

The announcement ends a 70-year Harborough district tradition of stations crewed almost entirely by part-time staff who did other jobs.

A former Harborough fire service watch manager, recently retired, told the Mail: “This is good news for Harborough without any doubt.”

And Leicestershire’s Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Steve Lunn said: “It’s all about risk.

“When we looked at the risk profile about 18 months to two years ago, we found Harborough had higher areas of risk, because of the roads infrastructure.

“It warranted an upgrade - and then the financial settlement from central Government was more than we were anticipating.”

Mr Lunn said the full-time crews meant knocking a vital five or six minutes off emergency response times, giving the Harborough district a better service.

Market Harborough’s fire station wil be crewed by full-timers seven days a week from 7am to 6pm. On-call ‘retained’ staff take over at night.

District councillor and another former firefighter Roger Dunton said he was a big supporter of retained firefighters who “gave so much back to their community”.

Earlier this year the Mail also reported that closure-threatened Kibworth Fire Station had been saved after a public campaign.

And Mr Lunn added that Market Harborough’s second fire engine would be replaced by a tactical response