Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

September 12, 2012 06:19 ET

Downgrading of Stations and Cuts to Front Line Posts in Hastings Will Put Public at Risk

EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Sept. 12, 2012) - East Sussex Fire and Rescue managers are putting forward proposals to the Fire Authority of East Sussex that could see the downgrading or closure of the Ridge Fire Station in the Hastings area.

This would greatly impact upon the safety of the public in the area of Hastings who, if these cuts go ahead, can expect to receive slower attendance times from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in the event of an emergency.

Under a recent Freedom of Information request to East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service it is clear to the FBU that any proposal to move a wholetime appliance and crew from The Ridge to Hastings will heavily impact upon attendance times.

From the information supplied under the Freedom of Information it is apparent that around 1900 households in the most socially deprived area would be significantly affected. This will reduce the ability for time critical rescues to be carried out in the event of an emergency.

Fire deaths within East Sussex during the last 12 months have significantly risen and further increases in attendance times will only lead to further deaths in the opinion of the FBU. These proposals which will increase attendance times and distances to the 1900 properties will also put firefighters at greater risk, as they will be dealing with a far more serious and protracted incident when they finally arrive.

The population of the Hastings area is expanding year on year, especially in the socially deprived areas and it is the opinion of the FBU that any proposal that would lead to a reduced service to the public, ie increased attendance times and distances, would put the public at greater risk. It is well documented that social deprivation and fire go hand in hand and therefore the most vulnerable in our society including the elderly, children and lowest paid will be put at the greatest risk if these planned proposals go ahead.

The FBU are dismayed with the lack of consultation regarding the review of fire cover within the Hastings area. In November 2011 the local branch of the FBU set up a working party ready for involvement in the review. However despite previous assurances, they were never invited to be part of the review. The review has now been completed by fire service managers and proposals put to the fire authority, all without FBU involvement.

The FBU have recently written to all members of the East Sussex Fire Authority requesting urgent talks regarding the review, the proposals and the lack of consultation. These proposals could negatively impact thousands of households within the Hastings area and the FBU would expect the fire authority members to recognise their duty to fully consider all proposals and not only consult with senior managers but also the local firefighters and the FBU before making a decision that has the potential to reduce public safety and firefighter safety.

The FBU is committed to protecting the public and protecting firefighters.

East Sussex FBU will oppose any job cuts with all means available.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Mark Brown
    East Sussex FBU Secretary

    Simon Herbert
    East Sussex FBU Chair