The FBU have just published a very detailed and interesting report that sadly confirms our worst fears about fire service cuts. Notable in the report are:
How cost effective the service is nationally, at £50 per person or £100 per household. That compares with full breakdown cover for your car from the AA at £292, and full homecare cover from British Gas at £377.
So how much does West Sussex County Council think their residents’ safety is worth? Well County Council figures show it is not £50, but a derisory £35 per person to provide the fire and rescue service. Next year they only think we are worth £33 each.
As for the cuts making no difference, research carried out for the Government has shown that fire service response times are increasing. Initially they thought this was related to traffic, but the research has shown that when traffic volumes stabilised, response times kept increasing. That increase seems to mirror the decrease in the number of firefighters and fire engines.
They also calculated that a one minute average increase in response times resulted in 78 extra deaths and £85 million more property damage each year. They also said that by 2025 there could be up to 350 extra deaths annually.
Chief Fire Officers up and down the country are warning of the dire consequences of cuts to the fire and rescue service. Why is our Chief Fire Officer not joining them and why is he continuing to deceive people by pretending the cuts are improvements?
For those who would like to read the report, it can be found here