Firefighters will respond to a greater number and wider range of call-outs under a proposed new Public Safety Plan for the county.
The 10-year plan sets out how the fire and rescue service will adapt to Surrey’s changing needs while also making efficiency savings through working more closely with other emergency services.
The county council’s proposals include firefighters responding to medical emergencies when a fire crew can reach a patient sooner than an ambulance – a scheme already being trialled across the county.
Firefighters will also give paramedics quick access to the homes of patients who can’t get to the door, help people with telecare devices who report problems such as falls and further develop their fire and road accident prevention work.
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Associate for Community Safety Services, said: ‘Our crews obviously have to continue to tackle fires in the way they always have but the reality is – thanks in part to our prevention work – they are now more likely to be called to different kinds of incidents.
‘That’s why it’s vital that we widen the scope of the service so that, as well as responding to fires, floods and road accidents, they work with other emergency services and help save even more lives.’
With the county council facing a funding gap of £50m over the next two years including increasing demand for adult social care services the authority needs to find savings.
Measures such as merging back office functions with neighbouring fire services and other organisations and reducing management tiers would contribute to generating almost £6million of savings over the next five years without a reduction in fire service cover.
Kay Hammond added: ‘We are confident that these proposals will reflect the demands and expectations of a fire service in the 21st century. We’ll be responding to more call-outs covering a wider range of incidents for the benefit of Surrey residents saving £6million over the next five years.’
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet approved a public consultation on the draft plans which will run from 27 April to 7 June.