Well today is the day we find out which of our County Councillors care about public safety, and which of them are prepared to sacrifice the lives of their electors. My latest email to them was:
What were the County Councillors who reviewed West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service really told?
20 questions that need to be answered
Were they told that:
1. Fire deaths have fallen in England, but risen in West Sussex every year since 2008-09.
2. The reduction in the number of incidents in West Sussex is only half that achieved across England.
3. Crawley has the most incidents of any station in West Sussex and that, following previous cuts, the number of deaths in their response area is increasing.
4. Midhurst, Petworth and Storrington had their establishment cut below that necessary to crew their fire engines at all times.
5. The Chief Fire Officer’s failure to address recruiting and retention of Retained Firefighters has resulted in nearly half the county’s fire engines being unavailable at times.
6. The risk assessment used is designed for assessing the risk to workers in the workplace, not the risk to the community from natural and man-made threats.
7. Using only three years historical data to determine critical fire risk is inadequate and unreliable.
8. That the average cost of providing the Fire & Rescue Service in the UK is £50 per person per year, but only £34 per person in West Sussex.
9. That Government research has shown that a one minute increase in average response times will cost the country 78 extra deaths and £85 million more property damage each year.
10. That despite financial restraint and no business case, the Chief Fire Officer is upgrading officer transport from small family cars to more expensive and more polluting 4x4s.
Were they told that the changes will:
11. Cost one extra life every two years, and at least 55 in the next one hundred years.
12. Cost 11 lives each in the Midhurst and Petworth areas for a saving of only £21,000.
13. Increase many response times, which will expose the public and firefighters to greater risk.
14. See fire engines travelling further to incidents and spending more time away from the areas they are supposed to protect.
15. Increase the number of times crews of only four are deployed, which will mean they cannot send crews in to a building wearing breathing apparatus until another crew arrives.
16. Reduce prevention work by at least 5,000 hours each year.
17. Not improve flexibility at Midhurst, Petworth and Storrington in respect of their 4x4s, but removing their second fire engines will significantly reduce flexibility.
18. See Crawley with the worst resource to workload ratio in the County.
19. Cut fire engines by a total of 24%, even though the number of incidents last year was two to three times more than in many previous years.
20. Bring West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service in to disrepute and increase the likelihood of litigation, including the risk of corporate manslaughter charges.
If they were not told, then they were misled.
If they were told, then they are being reckless.
In either case other County Councillors should stop these dangerous cuts