Fife firefighters are continuing their fight against the withdrawal of appliances as new figures reveal the potential impact.
Second or third appliances will be temporarily cut from Methil, Glenrothes and Dunfermline fire stations in under two weeks time.
Kirkcaldy fire station’s height appliance is also being withdrawn permanently.
The move is aimed at saving the fire service £11 million this year.
However, firefighters say it will hit response times and put the public in danger.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) assessment shows it will take two minutes and 40 seconds longer to reach an emergency following the cuts.
The service says the figure only refers to second appliances providing back-up and the initial response time will not be affected.
However, the Fire Brigades Union insists every second counts.
And as the union prepares to address a public meeting in Dunfermline tonight (Wednesday),east area vice chair Lewis Clark said: “Is this additional response time something the SFRS is willing to risk?”
‘Quick response makes all the difference’
The additional second appliance response time relates to Fife’s urban areas.
Rural areas will also see an increase of 55 seconds.
And Mr Clark added: “In a fire situation, or any situation where there are people trapped or in pain and needing rescue, every second counts.
“Firefighters on the ground understand that safely and quickly reaching those in need makes all the difference.
“Incidents can grow at an exponential rate and any additional time to get in attendance can severely affect the outcome.”
The fire service must find £36m in savings over the next four years and has warned “significant and permanent change is coming”.
This could include the closure of fire stations.
FBU will continue to fight Fife fire cuts as 6,000 sign petitions
Almost 6,000 people have now signed petitions against the Fife appliance withdrawals.
And Mr Clark urged locals to keep up the fight against cuts.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with the public support,” he said.
“The support we have had from councillors and MSPs from all parties has also been positive and appreciated.
“The FBU is continuing to fight against the withdrawal of these appliances.
“And we will continue to fight any other proposed cuts to firefighter numbers in the future.”
Mr Clark urged as many people as possible to attend the public meeting at the Fire Station Creative in Dunfermline at 6.30pm.
‘Response time increase is tolerable’
The SFRS said it analysed incident numbers before announcing cuts.
And it found all four of Fife’s two-pump stations were among the least active in Scotland.
It added: “In terms of its population size, Fife has a relatively large number of wholetime pumps compared to other urban areas.
“Temporarily reducing the number of wholetime pumps from 11 to eight is more proportionate to the observed activity levels.”
The service described the increase in the second appliance response time as “tolerable”.
Meanwhile, any permanent cuts to the SFRS will follow a full public consultation.
The FBU has called on Holyrood to provide further investment to protect the service.
However, a Scottish Government says it has invested £368 million this year, an increase of £14.4m, and there are more firefighters in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.