A revamp of West Midlands fire stations will see longer emergency response times for two to three per cent of residents, it has emerged.
Figures drawn up by the fire service also show that 25 per cent of homes will see a fire engine up to six minutes faster in an emergency after the reorganisation. The remaining three quarters of households will see no major change.
Fire Service bosses unveiled the figures during a consultation meeting with councillors over the plans to close ten fire stations and replace them with eight new ones.
In Birmingham the Sheldon, Aston, Ward End, Billesley and Hay Mills stations will close, with new ones opened in Aston, Hall Green, Stechford and Shard End. Some are seen by the service as out of date and others in the wrong place.
Fire Service spokesman Rory Campbell said the changes were based on detailed analysis of the 150,000 emergencies the service had responded over the last three years.
“Our key aim in this has been to improve our response times. We are already among the best in the UK but need to improve further.”
He said that response times are under seven minutes, but they hope to reduce that to five minutes.
“Those two minutes can be the difference between life and death,” he added.
Several members of the council scrutiny committee were worried about closures and coverage on their patch - Garrett’s Green was highlighted as one area which could face lower response times.
Labour Group deputy leader Coun Ian Ward (Shard End) warned councillors about being too parochial.
“We should not be taking an ‘I’m alright jack’ approach to this. A quarter of people will be better off and a lot of lives could be saved over many years.
“We should not get hung up over the stations, but the response times. I think its remarkable they will be able to get to me in five minutes in an emergency.”
But Birmingham Liberal Democrats have already announced their opposition, particularly to closures in Billesley, Hay Mills, Sheldon and Ward End.