Fire & Rescue reorganisation to ensure 24/7 cover is retained at Drogheda and Dundalk
Agreement has been reached between Louth Local Authorities and personnel in the county’s Fire & Rescue Service that will allow further efficiencies to be achieved while enhancing cover on a 24-hour basis from stations in Drogheda and Dundalk.
The agreement – reached after lengthy negotiations and arising from an earlier international review of provision in the county – provides for 55 whole-time and 16 retained staff to be engaged in delivering fire and rescue services in the county.
Under the new system to be introduced from September, fire-fighters will form part of a five-group duty system. Each group will consist of two crews. The crews will work on 10-week shift cycles with 12-hour shifts starting at 8am and 8pm.
Welcoming the new arrangements, Joe McGuinness, Director of Services, Louth Local Authorities, said: “A great deal of work has gone in to developing this model since the original review was commissioned in late 2008. I am satisfied that the agreement reached provides the most comprehensive cover possible at times of greatest demand. This commitment to service delivery is also balanced with the resource constraints we face in the current economic climate.
“We fully recognise that the innovative approach now being taken represents a change from the traditional practices and the flexibility being provided is the key to meeting our twin goals of an improved service and adjusted expenditure. There has been real commitment to public service and professionalism on display in how all of those involved have approached this process and that bodes well for implementation of the new cover arrangements from the autumn.”
Eamon Woulfe, Chief Fire Officer, Louth Local Authorities, said: “We particularly look forward to expanding our community fire safety programmes and putting Louth to the fore nationally in risk reduction and fire prevention. This effort will concentrate largely on homes in the county which is where the greatest fire dangers are. It is also a progressive step that the new agreement provides a greater focus on training and professional development so that all frontline and supervisory personnel keep our skills up-to-date to reflect new challenges and trends.
“While ours is a compact county, it does have two very large towns with high fire risk sites and other urban and rural areas that all generate their own demands. It is vital that we continue to develop a fire and rescue service that is fit for purpose and reflects the demand that exists.”