With paintings, trophies and photos boxed up, and a final day’s clothing among bare coat hangers it looked like any other moving day.
But this was not the usual moving house or business premises, as the final items of clothing were helmets, boots, jackets and tunics, and the other articles represented years of fire service history.
Tomorrow marks the end of an era for the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service as the doors are closed on their Bethel Street station for the final time as the move to a new £4.5m station takes place.
At 9am tomorrow Green Watch will report to Bethel Street for the last time, with Blue Watch reporting to their new home at 6pm.
The central Bethel Street station has served the city since 1934, but as the nature of the service has changed the need for a new station was realised and the decision was taken to move to the new Carrow Fire Station, near Martineau Lane, in Trowse.
District manager Greg Preston said: “It was built when fire stations served the whole of the city, which is why there are so many bays and doors – all the fire engines for the city were here.”
He said that today the service has a much greater focus on the rescue side with cutting edge engines that carried a wide variety of equipment.
However he added that there were mixed emotions for everyone involved.
“I think it is coming to the end of a lot of eras and people are feeling sad it is actually closing, but as professional firefighters they understand we are leaving for a fire station far more relevant and practical.”
One of those giving the station an emotional send off yesterday was its longest serving member Sonny Garrett, 64.
Mr Garrett, a fire safety officer, first started at the station in November 1971, when it also housed the ambulance service.
He said: “I think the station itself has a unique character, it has always had that feeling.
“When you look back it was perfect at the time for running a fire station. It has served us well.
“I have worked with some excellent people over the years, who have been both friends and colleagues. It is this comradeship and friendship that you just can’t measure how important it is. In an emergency service you really rely on each other.”
Mr Garrett paid tribute to those who had been injured and killed while serving the city from the station and said that he had been documenting the station’s history in memory of all those who have worked there.
He said: “When I heard about the new site it seemed a shame so much history was going to be lost so I started collecting information and photos and hopefully in a few weeks time it will be on the Norfolk Fire Service website.”
The process of leaving Bethel Street has not just been a case of moving two fire engines from the four-storey building, which houses four crews of eight, as well as a range of support and management teams.
Phil Berry, fire station manager, said: “It has been a hectic couple of months preparing not only the operational but also the fire safety side.
“It has served us very well over the years, but there is awful lot of material that has been left behind that had to be prepared.”
He added: “We can’t forget a lot of people here and they served the community of Norwich very well. We have to have to remember some of colleagues who have lost their lives while doing that.”
Mr Berry added that any historical items they could not take with them would go to the historical society so they can be preserved.
However the famous firefighters’ poles have to stay as the station is a listed building.
The next stage will be the decommissioning the station before it is sold off by Norfolk County Council. However, it is unlikely that Mr Garrett’s dream of a museum on the site will be realised as it will be sold with planning permission for 14 residential flats and offices on the ground floor.
Mr Garrett said: “I would like to keep it as a fire station. It would be nice if they turned it into a museum with old fire appliances and could raise some money for charities and other organisations. It seems an ideal place for it.”
Controversial plans to cut fire cover in Norfolk were given the green light yesterday amid fresh fears that lives and historic buildings in the centre of Norwich could be put at risk.
Norfolk County Council approved the £1.5m cuts as part of a new safety plan aimed at boosting cover in rural areas and King’s Lynn.
As part of the changes the number of fire engines in Norwich would be cut from five to four after the opening of the new Carrow Station in Trowse, near Norwich, following the closure of Bethel Street, with 24 jobs lost.
Across the county a further 12 jobs will be lost at six retained fire stations, Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Fakenham, Sandringham, and Wymondham. But moves to scrap the retained crew at Gorleston have been put on hold for 12 months, though councillors were unable to give assurances that the proposals will not be revisited in the future.
The monitoring of rules governing a maximum 15 minute response time for second crews at some incidents was also scrapped.
Labour councillor Bert Bremner told county councillors that the plans were a “Tory gamble”, which would affect the safety of firefighters and the public, particularly in the Norwich area.
“At the big Zizzi’s fire last month in the centre of Norwich there were at least six fire fighting appliances and 40 fire-fighters,” Mr Bremner said. “Zizzi’s was right next to the beautiful Ethelbert Gate, one of Norwich’s treasured medieval buildings.
“The first crew to get to the fire was the second Norwich pump, the one Tory Norfolk will cut. What is to replace this second fire engine?
“The Tory cuts will mean only five fire-fighters are on duty at North Earlham so no speedy arrival of the ‘Aerial Ladder Platform’ and far greater damage and far greater risk of fire spreading. The Ethelbert Gate would have been at risk.”
Harry Humphrey, cabinet member for fire and rescue, said: “We have got reduced risk, and we have got action being taken with a new fire station at Carrow, which will result in Norwich being ringed by fire stations at Sprowston, Earlham and at Carrow.”
We watch with interest the FBU’s response to this major threat to the people of Norfolk…
More than 100 members of Norfolk branches of the FBU joined other regional branches and marched on Parliament today.
Over 2,000 firefighters rallied in Westminster Central Hall, London. Hundreds then protested outside Downing Street while others went into pParliament to lobby MPs.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack told the rally, “We face a pay freeze and huge attacks on jobs and conditions as part of an ideological, political assault against public services.”
And addressing other trade unions he said, ” If it means striking together, then so be it, we are entering the fight of our lives. ”
Protest Statement From A Norwich City Action At Vodafone Today.
Corporate tax evasion/avoidance, I don’t pretend to remember which is legal and what loopholes make it so, is costing us our services. Last week ‘The Browne Report’ detailed billions of pounds worth of suggested cuts to the front line of public services affecting, for example; doctors, nurses, cleaning staff and specialists, special educational needs departments and classroom assistants. Right here in Norfolk ‘meals on wheels’ schemes were scrapped today plus there are the ongoing battles to save the day-care centres for the elderly, and now the centres for the deaf, blind, deaf-blind and disabled are all in the firing line. Also facing cuts are rural bus and train services, many people’s only transport link to the wider world. Not to mention the cuts to the Fire Service, youth working groups such as Connexions, and three thousand local jobs, all being the tip of the ice-berg. We are angry.
Vodafone have managed to swindle £6bn in unpaid taxes this year, which George Osbourne has happily written off.
So today a bizarre assortment of students, subcultural-stereotypes, community activists and revolutionaries stood outside Vodafone on St. Stephens St. and let the public know exactly what was causing them their considerable grievances. They were met with a healthy mix of sarcasm, anger, apathy, confusion, virulent support, back-slapping, knowing nods as well a series of follow up questions and a few pledges of solidarity. Within half an hour over 500 leaflets had been distributed and the shop effectively closed as staff locked the doors and released their small amount of customers back onto the high street. We stayed and continued to spread the word asking shoppers “Why should we be expected to pay our taxes when they won’t pay theirs?”
After another short while the police inevitably turned up and claimed they had reports of harassment from the public only seconds after having told us it was driving past us that had alerted them to our presence. When asked if they knew what cuts the Norfolk Constabulary were facing they said they would not be drawn into political arguments then proceeded to debate the finer points of free speech with us. The cops assured us that free speech only applied if in-audible to anyone over around four feet away from the speaker, ignoring the rights of street preachers and buskers to pollute our ears with whatever drivel they like at nearly any volume.
We assured them we’d be back tomorrow with more leaflets so we wouldn’t need to shout anymore. See you on St. Stephens.
Here’s an interesting article about what’s been going on in London. While the situation is somewhat different in Norfolk, there’s every chance of industrial action being taken here and across the country due to the dangerously complacent level of cuts and changing work practices.
Norfolk fire-fighters no doubt will face the same smear tactics adopted by not only the Fire Service but quite likely also a very reactionary press.
We back the fightback against the cuts and we fully support our fire-fighters both nationally and regionally. We also know the general public do too.
First of all, it is not true that this dispute between firefighters and London Fire Brigade management has anything to do with a claim for a £10,000 increase in pay. From listening to some online chatter, it would seem that at one stage, very early on in the negotiations, the union reps mentioned this claim in a negotiating meeting as a joke, in response to some of management’s more absurd demands. When the LFB responded “now you’re being ridiculous”, FBU reps responded “well, you fucking started it”. Whether that is true or apocryphal, what is for certain is that there is no claim for a £10,000 pay increase at the centre of this dispute. So when the LFB management publicise such allegations to newspapers and encourage them to claim that firefighters are making an unreasonable pay claim (by some standards – in my opinion, they would be worth every penny), that is a sleazy and dishonest tactic of class war. And it is certainly LFB management and their Westminster overseers who are behind these claims. The editor of Financial Markets confirmed as much in this editorial intervention, where he reveals that a story written up for the online magazine repeating those claims was taken from a “propaganda release” from the Fire Minister Bob Neil.
Secondly, it is not true that there is anything scandalous or ‘greedy’ about firefighters claiming London weighting while living outside of London. Such ‘weighting’ applies to where you work, not where you live, and the rules are the same for everyone. So, when the LFB management leaks the full home address of every firefighter to the tabloids in order to hound firefighters this is a sleazy, dishonest tactic of class war. Thirdly, it’s not acceptable for LFB management to use comments made by firefighters on Facebook groups as grounds for suspension. But that is what has been happening, and it is a sleazy and dishonest tactic of class war. Parenthetically, one firefighters’ support group with over 20,000 members disappeared from the social media site after comments made on the page were used by management against members. In addition, a number of individuals who were active on the group had their accounts deleted.
The use of smears, bullying and dirty tricks by LFB management should not surprise anyone that has followed the negotiations. Let’s recall how we got here. First of all, there is an important distinction that is apt to be lost in this discussion. The dispute is about shift patterns and the threat of cuts to night-time cover, but the strike was prompted by management’s bullying tactics, wherein they used a section 188 notice to threaten all workers with redundancy unless they accepted the new terms. Were it not for this threat, the strike would very probably not have been called, and the outcome would be determined solely by talks. But management pulled out their ace with the section 188, their last resort of coercion, and left the union with no choice but to strike. Such moves are taking place all over the country as part of the government’s cuts agenda, as tens of thousands of council workers have been threatened with the same threat of redundancy unless they accept lower pay. This is a tactic of class war. It is designed to undermine the position of organised labour, and bully workers. It is designed, in short, to weaken the bargaining power of labour and restrict the consumption of the working class. In context, it is part of a package of political measures designed to transfer wealth from the working class to the ruling class, the financialised fraction of which stands to gain most in the immediate term. It is also part of a project aimed at fundamentally restructuring the political economy of British capitalism, such that the welfare state, trade unions, and other features of society that buttress labour’s position are fundamentally weakened, and the power of the City, of the CBI and of entrenched business interests is fundamentally strengthened.
So, in the last analysis, they’re smearing the firefighters as part of a wider project of redistributing class power. However, there is a more immediate reason for the smears. LFB are losing. They are losing big time, so comprehensively that it’s almost laughable. The incompetence of the scab replacement firm, Assetco, has become nearly legendary. Destroying vehicles, letting houses burn to the ground, calling out striking firefighters to handle situations which they are just not trained or equipped to handle, are just a few examples of their last display. Assetco workers don’t want to cross the picket lines, and Police Silver command are refusing to provide escorts for them. In fact, my understanding is that Assetco have made it plain that they are not in a position to cover the city during the upcoming 47 hour strike, they simply don’t have the means or adequately trained staff. LFB management are panicking and, as a result, lashing out by all available means. They are desperate, on the backfoot, and – if the FBU stick to their guns – will have to back down and reach a serious, negotiated settlement with the union. I note that the NUJ are also out on strike on 5th November. Many RMT workers refused to work in unsafe conditions during the last strike, causing a complete shut-down on the Jubilee Line. It is fairly certain that the same will happen next week. Trade unionists from across London are rallying to the fire fighters, and undoubtedly watching the outcome. Whether the Tories hold the line with the FBU and the RMT will communicate something important to other trade unionists about the state of play. This is why it is vital that firefighters are not demoralised by the constant attacks of management and tabloids, nor swayed by the appeals for timidity from the liberal media. They can win, they have every right to win, and those supporting them need them to win.
Members of Norfolk Community Action Group and others joined the FBU and general secretary Matt Wrack outside County Hall yesterday to try and persuade the Council and Fire Service to refrain from imposing cuts which will leave the people of Norfolk more vulnerable than they’ve been in years.
Rather than listen to the professionals i.e. the fire fighters themselves, it is once again bureaucrats and managers calling the shots and who are now rubber stamping a course of action that everybody in Norfolk should be extremely concerned about.
Having spoken to FBU members who went into the county hall meeting, it seems there is now little hope of saving appliances and at least 36 jobs in Norwich alone.
There is little point in the Norfolk public involving themselves in Norfolk County Council ‘public consultations’ as they are nothing but lip service with decisions already made behind closed doors by pen-pushers.
We are a week away from finding out precisely what else we are going to suffer in Norfolk, but rest assured your safety, your jobs, your homes and your welfare state is going to be torn apart.
Wake up Norfolk! These cuts are not necessary. Let those who caused the financial crisis in Britain pay back the money. It’s not as if they can’t afford it!
Saturday saw around 100 FBU members and their supporters on the Haymarket in Norwich lobbying the public on the issue of the upcoming fire cuts.
Well done to all Norfolk Community Action Group members for turning out and supporting the FBU.
Here’s a short reminder of just how not to run a fire service and just how lucky we are to have the calibre of firefighters we have. It’s also a reminder that the biggest threat to the safety of the public comes from the bosses themselves.
HANDS OFF OUR FIRE SERVICE!
Things are hotting up among the local FBU following the recent sham series of public consultations that have led to plans by Norfolk Fire Service to declare their intent on making major cuts in our fire services.
In an interview with Norwich Evening News, Norfolk Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams said
“Our draft safety plan has been drawn up following a wide-ranging consultation, the most comprehensive ever carried out by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Authority, and reflects the fact that our service is looking to change some of the ways we deliver services to our communities.
“In light of our successful continuing prevention work, which is reducing the number of fires in Norfolk and other emergencies, it makes perfect sense to take a fresh look at the way we work.
“The safety of the public is at the heart of everything we do and that won’t change.
“I believe the proposals, which will go before cabinet in October, will help us continue to move in the right direction. We have no intention of compromising either public or firefighter safety.”
Nigel what planet are you actually living on?
The wide ranging public consultations that Nigel speaks of were so well advertised that practically nobody knew they were happening, and the comments that were seen by FBU members showed that there was NO public support for the cuts whatsoever!
These, like all recent ‘consultations’ to do with cuts in local services, were nothing more than ‘democratic lip-service’, with the decisions to hack away at public services already given the green light.
As for Nigel’s reasoning and declaration of ‘common sense’..we’re tripping ourselves over with laughter! Clearly the ‘common-sense fairy’ never paid you a visit did they Nigel?
If the services are reducing fires and other incidents, it’s because of the hard work of the fire fighters. Any sane person would realise that making cuts on that basis runs the risk of simply undoing all the hard work and putting peoples lives in danger! Have a word with yourself Nigel!
As for Conservative MP Chloe Smith’s ‘fears over fire service cuts’…perhaps she’d be so kind and join the FBU on their rally this weekend and fight against all the other lunatic attacks on public services her party are currently engaged in? A likely story!
To the barricades comrades…
The FBU in Norwich have called a march and rally on Saturday 2nd in the City Centre to highlight the cuts Norfolk Fire Service are proposing.
These cuts will not only put the fire crews in danger but will result in a dangerously low level of fire cover for all of us.
We urge all who can make it to join the FBU by meeting outside Bethel Street Fire Station at 9.50am.
See you there!
…they are not worth the paper they are written on…
According to FBU members who we have engaged with, 95% of public opinion in said ‘consultation’ we’re against the proposed changes.
How then does this give the Fire Brigade a mandate to carry on regardless unless they had already decided to go ahead prior to opening it up to the public.
Just like the closures of day care centres for the elderly and the loss of jobs at Connexions.
It’s interesting what you find when you google Consultations Sham…
Norwich fire jobs set to go
Fire chiefs are to press ahead with plans to reduce cover at the proposed new Carrow station, in Norwich, with the loss of 24 jobs, despite backing away from across the board cuts in rural areas.
Norfolk Fire Service wants to save £1.5m as part of its new draft safety plan aimed at modernising the service, which it hoped would boost cover in rural areas by introducing a new specialist appliances capable of dealing with off road crashes and natural emergencies such as flooding.
Plans also include scrapping or relaxing the response times for second appliances to non-emergency call-outs, such as small rubbish fires, and minor road accidents, and changing shift patterns to a “five watch” system, following the lead of Greater Manchester, which aims to match cover to actual demand rather than having firefighters sitting around.
But after a major 12-week consultation plans, which saw the biggest ever response, bosses will press ahead with plans to reduce the number of proposed crews at the new Carrow station in Trowse from five to four.
However, plans to cut 13 retained posts at Gorleston are being put on hold while further studies of its impact are carried out, though a full time crew will still be transferred to the town from Great Yarmouth.
And instead of axing two posts each at six other stations – Diss, Cromer, Sandringham, Fakenham, Wymondham and Dereham – it will look at the levels of cover on a case-by-case basis.
The service is also looking at its options in West Norfolk and plans for an additional “fire service delivery point” at King’s Lynn if it can find the money, which has sparked questions that it may have to scale back from building a new purpose-built station costing up to £2m.
Fire service officials said they were pleased with the response to the consultation and had taken on board some of the key issues raised.
But union leaders feared the moves were nothing more than a stay of execution for the service.
Jamie Wyatt, Brigade secretary at Norfolk FBU, said the consultation process had been a sham and had only been opened up after pressure from the union.
“The only reason they have done this is so that they can make cuts in the number of firefighters,” My Wyatt said. “It’s about saving money and not the safety of people in Norfolk.”
Neil Harvey, spokesman for Norfolk Retained Firefighters Union committee, said he was very disappointed about the plans.
“From what I have seen the plans at Gorleston have simply been put on hold,” Mr Harvey said. “At some point in the future they will simply come back and there will be no way for the public to challenge that.”
The wide-ranging consultation, the most comprehensive ever carried out by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Authority, included 13 public events, attended by 182 people, and more than 70 meetings with staff and unions.
More than 300 formal responses were received and the feedback has helped shape a report due before the Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Panel next week Tuesday .
Harry Humphrey, cabinet member for fire and community protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “This was the most comprehensive consultation the fire and rescue authority has ever carried out, and has also been its most successful in terms of the level of responses received. It’s been extremely valuable for us to gain a better understanding of the views of many people including members of the public and fire service staff and I would like to thank all those who responded. Our priority, as always, is making our very safe county even safer.”
Nigel Williams, chief fire officer for Norfolk, said safety was at the heart of everything the service did and that would not change.
“I believe the proposals within this report will help us continue to move in the right direction,” Mr Williams said.
What’s behind threats to jobs fire fighters are facing and the serious risk to public safety?
Listen to the shocking case of tax payers money being wasted on non-sensical ‘Fire Service Procurement’ to the detriment of our fire men and women in R4′s Face the facts – Money to burn – Fire Service Procurement.
Below article on the programme…
Firefighters in the UK’s biggest brigade will start voting on Friday on whether to take industrial action in a row over new contracts.
Thousands of members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in London will decide if they want to launch a campaign of action, which could start at the end of September.
The union went ahead with the ballot after complaining that firefighters were going to be sacked and re-employed on new contracts, including different shifts.
Matt Wrack, the FBU’s general secretary said: “It’s a great shame that London firefighters have to consider industrial action, but they won’t tolerate attempts to threaten or intimidate them. The proposal to end the contracts of all London firefighters is the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen in the fire service. If they are going to go down this road there is only one way to challenge them and that is strike action. For our own self esteem we have to do something about it.
“Even under the last government we had fewer firefighters at the end of 13 years than we had at the beginning. There was no golden age in the fire service. There has been some expansion – human resources departments have expanded into little empires. The people who are taking these decisions about cutting the service and reducing night-time fire cover in London have not the first idea what firefighting is all about.”
The ballot result is due on September 17.
Meanwhile, the FBU said a radio programme which claimed that millions of pounds were being wasted on unused fire engines and unoccupied new control centres as part of a revamp of the fire service showed a “shocking litany of wasted money”.
BBC Radio 4′s Face the Facts said nine new regional centres in England had been standing empty for up to three years because of problems in developing their computer systems. The monthly rent for the empty buildings was costing taxpayers £1 million a month, and they will not be all in use until 2013, sending the programme more than £350 million over budget, it was reported.
The FBU has been campaigning for years against the new centres, which were ordered by the previous Labour government.
Mr Wrack said: “The programme provided a shocking litany of wasted money in fire service procurement, on regional control centres which are still lying idle, on equipment that is not fit for use, on new recliners for firefighters which are not fit for purpose. Millions of pounds are being wasted. Decisions are being made by people who know nothing at all about firefighting. Meanwhile there are cuts in things that really matter – firefighters, fire stations, equipment – to pay for all this madness.”
The First National Trade Union Branch To Sponsor This Event Is…
The Norwich branch of the Fire Brigades Union.
This news just received. Motion passed this evening to not only sponsor the event but decision to also send along a speaker in support of the Tomlinson family.
As soon as we find out who the speaker is we will update.
On behalf of the Norwich Justice For Ian Tomlinson Campaign we’d very much like to thank the branch for their solidarity.
Fire chiefs have defended controversial plans to reduce the number of fire engines which serve Norwich.
While the public ‘consultation process’ which is nothing other than lip service continues to be under way for the next few weeks, Fire bosses are making sure that the media give full weight and air time to their proposals whilst barely a mention of the actual bureaucratic red taped claptrap the consultation actually entails…it’s a funny old game!
As usual bosses know best and the fire fighters themselves ought to just put up and shut up!
We aren’t in this instance even going to bother commenting on Mike McCarthy, acting chief fire officers ridiculous recent statements on call out and arrival times, other than to say on your head be it Mike!
Meanwhile this from Jamie Wyatt, Fire Brigades Union secretary in Norfolk
“The proposals not only cut the number of fire engines and firefighters but also remove the attendance times for second fire engines reaching certain types of incidents.
“That means that for some incidents there will be no time limit on how long it will take for sufficient resources to arrive, and therefore puts the public at increased risk.”
We at Norfolk Community Action Group ask that concerned residents in Norfolk not only take part in the online ‘consultation‘ but get firmly behind the FBU and support them in whatever course of action they see fit to take in the coming months.
Report on opposition to Fire Brigade and Council plans to cut £1.5 from front line fire services in Norfolk
It may have past you by but were you aware that your council has voted to reduce Norwich’s fire cover along with cuts and damaging restructuring across the rest of the county?
Were you even aware that there is a public consultation going on? No we weren’t either until this morning.
According to Fire Brigade Management
Norfolk is one of the safest counties in England and our fire and rescue service is helping make it even safer. Since 2005 the number of significant fires in Norfolk is down 11% and the total number of incidents our firefighters attend is down 8%.
Now that is fantastic we hear you say, but wait for it…this therefore justifies losing one fire engine and a whole crew from the city of Norwich alone.
It is pretty evident to most of us that these ‘consultations’ are nothing more than a game council plays with us. If nobody knows about the consultation, nobody opposes it, therefore there’s no argument, the cuts go ahead.
Apparently the public have been well informed of the proposed changes, yet we haven’t been able to find anybody aware about this.
We’ve decided to help Fire Brigade management out on this score.
But before you do lets leave you with a few words from those who know best, the men and women on the ground who actually get their hands dirty shall we…
Nationally, reduced call volumes have been used as a justification for reductions in fire cover. As a result, the ratio of deaths and injuries to fires, the rate of injuries to firefighters and the cost of fire to the economy has increased.
Norfolk Fire Brigade Union
There’s only one fair response to give the Council and Fire Brigade Management to these proposed changes and that’s a firm and resolute ‘Jog On!‘
Please fill in the online ‘consultation’ and support the men and women of the FBU! You just might need them one day…
Fire chiefs were urged to think again on plans to cut the level of cover in Norfolk amid fears lives would be put at risk and the impact of proposals for thousands of new homes in the county had not been taken into account.
Around 80 firefighters from across the county took part in a demonstra-tion outside County Hall yesterday to protest at the planned changes which would see the number of crews reduced from five to four when Bethel Street station is replaced by the new Carrow Station, in Trowse in 2011, and shifting a full- time crew from Great Yarmouth to Gorleston to replace the retained cover.
Six retained stations – Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Fakenham, Sandringham, and Wymondham – will each lose two firefighters and there will be new smaller rescue vehicles, while a new second station is planned at King’s Lynn.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service bosses are looking to save £1.5m with a new safety plan which will see 42 posts lost across the county, including 24 in Norwich, 14 at Gorleston, and 12 in the six retained stations.
Jamie Wyatt, brigade secretary of Norfolk FBU, said firefighters had joined the protest because they were worried and angry about the cuts.
“These cuts could potentially lose 50 firefighters’ jobs,” he said. “If they cut these posts, cover will be affected. They are making cuts which are purely financial. Our main concern is the safety aspect both of the crews and the public. It will take longer to deal with incidents and there will be more delays.”
Brigade bosses said the changes would help deliver better response times to incidents for the first crews and boost cover in rural areas.
But opposition councillors questioned the plans and warned that lives could be put at risk, and they said a decision should be put on hold until it was clear if a new unitary council for the city would be created.
Labour councillor Colleen Walker said the changes failed to take into account plans for hundreds of new homes in Gorleston.
“This report isn’t factually correct, it’s somewhat flawed and the information is misleading,” she said. “These increases haven’t been considered. Nobody has consulted me as a county councillor, and nobody has mentioned what happens if Norwich becomes a unitary authority – Norwich will be split and that’s not been taken into account.”
Green councillor Andrew Boswell said the report contained too many baffling statistics.
“I find the statistics very difficult to unravel; these numbers mean nothing to us,” he said. “They need to be thinking about the future and putting in more services, not taking them away.”
Lib Dem councillor David Callaby questioned why the authority had paid £25,000 to consultants to draw up the change plans. “This piece of work should have been done by our own in-house employees,” he added.
Richard Elliott, chief fire officer, said: “Statistics can be baffling, I admit that, but what’s really important in terms of emergency response is how quickly you can get to the scene with that first fire engine. If you are going to make an impact on that incident, that really makes a difference.
“We are going to have another fire station at King’s Lynn, which will increase fire cover and the ability to make a first response, and in Gorleston you are going to get a quicker first response. You don’t need statistics to be able to understand that in Norwich it’s about getting the first response quickly where the greatest resource is.”
Members of the cabinet will consider the plans ahead of a public consultation in the summer, with a final decision expected later in the year.