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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Fire staffing crisis 'is easing'
A staffing shortage that left some fire stations at "crisis point" because of a lack of retained firefighters is improving, say fire bosses.

Around a quarter of stations in Lincolnshire were out of action earlier this year because of a severe lack of retained firefighters.

Fire chiefs warned lives could be put at risk because of slow response times.

But a recruitment campaign has seen more than half of the 40 new recruits needed come forward.

The county's fire service was struggling to fill retained firefighter positions because it predominantly needed people to provide cover during the day.

It is a big problem but it is reducing
Dave Ramscar, Lincolnshire fire service

Dave Ramscar, organisational development manager, said the situation was now improving.

"We have recruited 22 new firefighters into the service," he said.

"We still have some of our stations off the run during the day.

"We are working to reinforce those using our wholetime staff or moving retained firefighters from other stations.

"It is a big problem but it is reducing - it does need to come down."

He admitted recruiting retained firefighters could be tough as they often had regular day jobs.

"It's a massive commitment not only on the staff themselves, but also on the employers as they can lose key members of their team if there's a fire," he said.

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