RESIDENTS are reminded they can still have their say about the future of their local fire service.

A wide ranging consultation to consider options for the future of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service is under way.

Until 20 October, you will be able to have your say on options including closer work with local authorities and police through to a possible merger with Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority.

Darran Gunter, chief fire officer of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: “DFRS has 40 front-line fire engines, 33 of which are crewed by ‘on-call’, or retained firefighters.

“Our response arrangements are therefore very efficient. “We also undertake over 12,000 home safety checks a year and work with a range of partners to make our communities safer.

“However, like all public services we face significant financial challenges.

“For DFRS, our potential deficit by 2017/18 ranges between £2.3M and £3.2M.

“I am passionate about protecting front-line services and for this reason would encourage everyone to take part in our consultation. “Whilst currently a combination with Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is the preferred option of both myself and the fire authority, it is really important that communities, partners and businesses let us have their views on this and other scenarios that we are consulting on.”

Chairman of Dorset Fire Authority Councillor Rebecca Knox said: “We have a fantastic fire and rescue service and I am sure you, like the authority, want to do whatever you can to ensure the service continues to keep the communities of Dorset safe.

“DFRS advice and support reaches out to many vulnerable groups and I am particularly proud of our work with young people, protecting future generations. “We all want to continue this great work, but it does cost and our budget is under huge pressure. Scenario three at this stage assists us best.

“Please look carefully at the consultation, take part and help us continue to provide you with a great service, we can do this only with greater financial savings.”

The consultation portal is accessible via the website and following the links.