CONCERNS have been raised after it was revealed Grays fire station may lose a life-saving specialist vehicle.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has released plans to remove the specialist rescue engine within a year should this get approval at a meeting this week.

The vehicle was first introduced in the mid nineties and carries specialist equipment, including cutting tools, to remove casualties in road crashes.

The Grays-based vehicle’s usage has decreased in recent years, but it is still used more frequently than similar vehicles based in Colchester and Southend.

Between 2011 and 2012, it attended 165 emergency calls compared to the Colchester vehicle, which attended 122 and the Southend vehicle which attended 74.

Fire chiefs say the vehicles are used less now due to fire engines being able to carry more equipment.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Rescue tenders no longer have a useful role as part of our emergency response.

“Continued investment by the Essex Fire Authority means that frontline appliances now carry most of the kit which was once only found on rescue tenders.

“The Southend and Harlow rescue tenders are the least used in the service.

“This is why they will be the first to be removed.”

The Southend and Harlow rescue tenders are set for immediate removal. Units in Grays and Colchester will be phased out over the next 12 months.

The plan could potentially save money equivalent to 60 firefighter posts.

However, Alan Chinn-Shaw, brigade secretary for the Essex Fire Brigade Union, who said he has not seen the precise details of the county authorities plan, said areas of service may suffer.

He said: “You will lose the experience of specialist firefighters who manned the rescue tenders, they attended more difficult incidents with large vehicles and multiple vehicle crashes and have valuable experience.

“There is also potential for a delay in service if not all equipment can be fitted onto a front line vehicle, another vehicle would have to bring the extra equipment.

“If that vehicle is another front line one there is the potential for a reduction in service as that vehicle and crew will not be able to attend other incidents.”