Campaigners hope people power will persuade fire chiefs to rethink controversial plans for brigade cuts in West Yorkshire.
The county’s chief fire officer, Simon Pilling, wants to axe 200 full-time firefighter posts and close a string of fire stations.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority voted on Friday to put Mr Pilling’s plans out to public consultation.
And today councillors in areas that would be affected by the proposed changes urged residents to have their say during the process.
Coun Neil Dawson (Lab, Morley South) said: “The consultation will last for 12 weeks and this will allow people time to get their views across. I’ll be using the time to get the best long-term solution.”
Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) said: “I am very concerned that these proposed cuts will put lives at risk. I urge local residents to respond to the consultation and express their own concerns.”
The fire authority has pledged that no final decision on the plans will be taken before the outcome of the consultation is known.
People wanting advice on how to get involved in the process can ring 01274 655717.
Written representations should be posted to Hannah Stoneman, Consultation Co-ordinator, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Oakroyd Hall, Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, BD11 2DY.
Feedback can also be e-mailed to: email@example.com. Responses must be received by November 30.
Mr Pilling’s plans are designed to deliver annual savings of £8m.
Under the proposals, six stations in Leeds – Hunslet, Morley, Rothwell, Garforth, Cookridge and Moortown – would be closed and replaced with three new fire bases.
Emergency response times in areas such as Morley South and Ossett would go up by more than two minutes.
If the plans are approved, they will be put into practice between 2016 and 2020.