Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are hoping to send Land Rovers to tackle small, rural fires and plan to save £80,000 a year.

Fire-fighters are often called to small fires such as bin, grass and rubbish fires in Hampshire areas and under the current fire service policy at least one fire engine must be sent to every blaze, which could mean 5 or 6 personnel fighting a small fire that can be put out very quickly.

In a report by chief officer Andy Bower to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Performance Review and Scrutiny Committee, he says a trial at Waterlooville, Fleet and Ringwood retained fire stations last year was a success.

The report says: ‘Many fires in rural areas are small and pose limited risk. Most of these small fires in the open can be dealt with using limited water, equipment, and personnel and do not need a major appliance with a crew of five or six.’

Latest figures show there were 1,954 small fires across Hampshire (excluding Southampton and Portsmouth) between April 2010 and March 2011. If a Land Rover had attended, rather than major appliances, a saving of £83,000 would have been made.

Most rural areas are covered by retained fire-fighters who are paid for each call out they make. By cutting that number by two thirds, each call-out will only cost £30 an hour.

The only problems that arose were down to the rota and which crew members will man the Land Rovers.

The fire service currently has 18 Land Rovers and following the committee’s approval of the recommendations last month, there will be a review of which stations they are based at.

Source: Portsmouth News

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