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Councillor urges Wargrave residents to volunteer as retained firefighters or lose station

Will Taylor

Volunteer to be a retained firefighter or risk losing Wargrave Fire Station, a Wokingham Borough Councillor has urged.

John Halsall (Con, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) made the remarks following news last week that a consultation is to launch as to wheter it should remain open.

It is suggested for closure in three of the seven options listed as proposals to savings in a draft Service Redesign Consultation document on the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

The consultation was launched on Monday and will finish on Monday, March 13.

Cllr Halsall, who was a retained firefighter in his 20s, said: "If you want it to stay, please volunteer to be a retained firefighter.

"Life is changing, really.

"Everyone had open fires."

It was a 'problem station' he added, and suggested too many people keen on becoming a retained firefighter were not available due to working out of town.

He said: "Most people worked in the locality in which they lived so the concept of retained firefighters worked really well."

The Victoria Road station, can only deploy if it had at least four firefighters ready, and RBFRS statistics show the fire station had only been available on-call 2.4% of the time.

A spokesman for RBFRS said: "In simple terms, the proposals set out in this document are intended to ensure that we have the right resources, doing the right things, in the right places, at the right time.

"The proposals have been developed to make sure RBFRS will become an even more modern, efficient, innovative and resilient organisation."

Visit www.rbfrs.co.uk for details on the consultation.

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