LETTER: Combined impact of fire service cuts

Your letters
Your letters

Further to the article in your paper of October 29 2015, headed ‘Cover at Mid Sussex fire stations is ‘quite worrying’ - councillor’, I would like to make the following comments.

It is not only Mid Sussex fire stations where the availability of appliances and personnel is causing problems. All stations within West Sussex are experiencing the effects of cuts to the number of personnel and fully manned fire appliances that are available for immediate turnout in the event of a fire or other emergency incident.

And, because of these cuts, the increased use of resources from other authorities, East Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, have spiralled, together with attendance times.

There are other worrying developments being planned as well, both by West Sussex and by neighbouring brigades.

There are serious proposals being considered that would see full sized, fully manned fire appliances with crews of five or six aboard, being replaced with, what can only be described as ‘vans’, with a crew of two.

What these ‘vans’ are expected to do when they arrive as a first attendance at a house fire is anybody’s guess.

As usual it will be the firefighters on the front line that will take all the flack when they are unable to do anything because of lack of equipment and resources and find they can only stand and wait whilst a ‘proper’ fire appliance is mobilised.

Either that, or, because they are firefighters and want to help, they will attempt to do something and place themselves at risk of injury, or worse.

Another worrying development by West Sussex is the lack of information given about which appliances, and which stations, attended fires.

In the Middy of October 29. there are reports of two fires, one for a house fire in Condor Way, Burgess Hill, and another in Trinity Road, Hurstpierpoint, that state ‘WSFRS attended’. On the face of it, yes, brilliant, the fire brigade attended, but, if they attended from fire stations miles away, how long were these people waiting for help, and how much extra damage was caused to their homes because of the reduction in attendance times ?

Several weeks ago an incident at Hickstead, on the A23, was reportedly attended by Lewes. Where were Hurstpierpoint, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Henfield or Crawley when this incident occurred ?

For anyone interested in how fire cover within West Sussex is being cut to the bone, can I suggest they look on facebook at “West Sussex Fire and Rescue Stop The Cuts”.

The situation of drastically reduced fire cover within our county is getting beyond a joke, and those tasked with the job of ensuring adequate cover is provided 24/7 are not doing what they are being paid for.

Dave Philpott

Pinewood Way, Haywards Heath

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