FIREFIGHTERS have voiced concerns about plans to change how their station works.

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, visited Canvey fire station, in Long Road, to speak to crew members about plans to staff it with part-time firefighters.

It followed an announcement by Essex County Fire and Rescue that Canvey will become retained, staffed only by part-time firefighters, as part of plans to save £10million across the county.

The 25 full-time officers currently at the station will be moved to fill vacancies elsewhere in Essex.

This decision has left firefighters concerned about the future.

Among the issues discussed was how fire safety would be affected by the changes.

Crew members said without full-time staff, there will be less time to visit schools.

Mrs Harris said: “It was a very useful fact-finding mission and I now have a lot of questions to raise in Westminster.

“We discussed how they feel, what other options there are and what the changes would mean.”

At present there are 14 retained firefighters on Canvey to cover the full-time crew members.

Fire bosses need to find another 11 people to take up the role before the changes happen.

Anyone who wants to become a retained firefighter has to live within five minutes of the fire station and must be prepared to respond to emergencies at very short notice.

The fire service will be holding a public meeting to discuss the changes at Smallgains Hall, Creek Road, Canvey, on Saturday, January 29, at noon.

Residents are organising a second public meeting, at Northwick Park Primary School, Third Avenue, on January 18, at 7.30pm.

Campaigner George Whatley said: “Hopefully this meeting will be the way forward to forming a group which can stop these changes from taking place.”