TWO fire engines could be lost from South Cumbria in plans to shake-up the service over the next four years.

Two large appliances covering Staveley near Kendal, and Arnside, could be replaced with “rapid response vehicles” manned by just three firefighters in a pilot project.

Cumbria County Council says that RRVs could respond quicker to incidents because they need less crew.

And because both areas are sufficiently “close” to other large fire stations, they could be supported by appliances in the event of a serious blaze, it said.

The plans read: “Firefighters will carry out their normal duties, training, administration from the larger adjacent stations, but maintain a rapid response vehicle within their local area, in suitably-provided accommodation.”

It adds: “Smaller rapid response vehicles will allow rapid intervention with three firefighters attending incidents in the early stages of development, whilst awaiting additional support.”

It follows new statistics which show that house fires, car fires and building fires have all fallen in Cumbria in the five years between 2013-2018.

Data shows that both Staveley and Arnside are considered “low-risk areas” with low levels of demand, according to the authority.

Arnside, an on-call station, covers a population of 4,000 and attended 18 incidents in 2017-18 . None were fires and nine were false alarms.

The station is four miles from pumps at Milnthorpe and 12 miles from stations serving Kendal and Kirkby Lonsdale.

Staveley, also an on-call station, covers a population of 2,100. It attended a total of 14 emergencies in 2017-18, which included four fires.

The county council has launched a public consultation on the proposals – contained within the authority’s draft integrated risk management plan (IRMP).

It closes on February 8 and no decisions would be taken until April.

Cllr Janet Willis (Lib Dem, Low Furness), the county council’s cabinet member for the service, said the authority must “target” its resources in the most efficient manner according to the most “current” risk.

She said: “I must stress this is a consultation and no final decisions have been made and we welcome feedback to the consultation, but we have carried out early engagement with communities and staff.”

She said the plans are backed up by “risk-based evidence”.

Similar proposals have been tabled for Frizington and Maryport in West Cumbria. New figures show house fires fell by 45 incidents from 284 five years ago to 239.

People can take part in the consultation by emailing

Comments can be made in writing to

IRMP Consultation, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters

Carleton Avenue, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2FA.