THE Bucks fire service could change the way it operates, following continuing financial pressures and a decrease in the number of call outs.

The Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service is currently consulting the public on its proposed five year plan.

In the consultation booklet chief fire officer, Mark Jones, said "The fire and rescue 'landscape' has changed dramatically over the last ten years or so.

"We have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of emergency incidents and consequent deaths and injuries across the UK, including here in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes."

Over the last decade there has been a 54 per cent reduction in fires in the county and a 68 per cent reduction in no-fatal fire casualties.

Analysis revealed full-time fire engines attend on average 3.4 incidents and on-call fire appliances 1.2 incidents in a 24 hour period.

A review by Sir Ken Knight- a former chief fire and rescue adviser to the Government, has suggested improvements to efficiency.

One of these include increasing reliance on 'on call' (part-time) firefighters in the areas where risk and demand are low.

And another includes improving collaboration and sharing of knowledge and learning between fire and rescue services to reduce duplication of effort.

At the monthly Princes Risborough Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Bill Bendyshe-Brown brought the issue to the table.

He said the fire authority is also facing financial pressures and advised all councillors to look at the plan.

He said: "One of the things we are finding now, because of the reduction in the number of fires and call outs, we do have over capacity within the fire service. We have got to look at that and make note of that in terms of cost reduction."

The Thames Valley Control Service is already merged between Oxon, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and Cllr Gary Hall suggested the fire authorities could work in a similar way.

He said: "It is a very serious matter. We should all be taking an interest.

"I certainly had a few staff contact me and said morale within the service it at its lowest ever."

Cllr John Coombs said Wiltshire and Dorset fire authorities are consulting at the moment on a merger, which he said will reduce the number of high earning people yet still leave the front line crews.

A small working group was put together to write a draft response.

The consultation lasts until October 13. Go to The plan will be presented for approval in December.