The number of fire-fighters available to work during peak times in Cambridgeshire has increased due to the implementation of a new crewing system. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Tactical Delivery Group (TDG) introduced a new crewing system in January which has meant that for the first four months of 2015, on-call fire engines were available for emergencies for almost 1,000 more hours across the county.

Area commander Nick Foster said: "Re-allocating our resources like we have with the TDG has made a positive impact on increasing the availability of on-call fire engines to help improve frontline services.

"The flexibility of crewing in this way means our available resources are not tied permanently to one station but are allocated according to where the risk is, which we think is a smarter way of making more fire engines available to answer 999 calls.

"In addition, members of the TDG have been on training courses to develop their skills and are positively contributing to the service's vital community fire safety work. Members of the group have fitted 64 homes with smoke alarms and carried out 120 home fire safety checks in Cambridgeshire in less than four months, which reinforces our pledge to make communities safer."

The changes to the crewing, which involved re-assigning 10 posts from the Huntingdon rescue vehicle, were agreed by the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority in February, 2014 following a public consultation. The 10 posts previously assigned to crew the Huntingdon rescue vehicle were transferred to create the TDG.

The system means, two fire-fighters continue to crew the rescue vehicle, which is not restricted to Huntingdon, during the day and the remainder of the TDG carries out other work such as bolstering provision of crewing at on-call stations, delivering community fire safety work and carrying out audits of business premises.