EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2012) - On the 7th June the chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, Councilor John Livings issued a communication regarding cuts to the establishment within East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
East Sussex FBU wrote on the 8th June 2012 of their concerns over further reductions in posts.
Within East Sussex there have already been reductions to frontline posts due to cuts being made. The FBU have raised their concerns with management and the fire authority that these cuts would heavily impact on the ability of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to provide emergency fire and rescue cover within the county.
The FBU's concerns are now being realised.
During recent months wholetime appliances have not been available for emergency incidents due to lack of crewing or fully trained personnel being available.
The FBU have repeatedly raised their concerns that by cutting firefighter jobs and having fewer fire engines available will delay intervention. Any delay in intervention at an emergency will put public lives at risk and also put the firefighters at greater risk when dealing with the emergency.
The FBU and ESFRS managers have agreed policies to make up for short term crewing deficiencies. Following discussions between the FBU and managers it has become apparent that ESFRS managers have not been utilising these agreed policies for maintaining fire cover within the county.
It seems apparent to the FBU that ESFRS senior managers and indeed the fire authority of East Sussex are comfortable with the situation whereby whole villages and towns have no fire cover supplied by their local fire station and firefighters, thus relying on neighboring stations and firefighters who would have long travel times and distances to attend any emergency.
The FBU are dismayed with the lack of fire cover and expect the public to share their concerns. The public pay for a fire service through their council tax, and that service is now failing to deliver.
The FBU are again requesting that East Sussex Fire Authority look to make the necessary savings, that have been imposed by Government, without reducing establishment any further and also without putting the public and firefighters at any further risk due to these cuts.
Over the last year deaths due to fire have significantly risen within East Sussex, and any further cuts, in the opinion of the FBU, will lead to further deaths and injuries.
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 further cuts go ahead.
The FBU is committed to protecting the public and protecting firefighters.
East Sussex FBU will oppose any job cuts with all means available.