Thursday, 22 January 2015

Cynical "Fire chief's pledge"

Well we can all forget the appalling 72% retained availability (target 88%), the 33% increase in response times (since the 1990s), the increase in fire deaths and even how much worse it will be after the planned cuts. We are saved - the DCFO has made a pledge! They really do take the public for fools.


  1. That's all very well but when you run out of man power and appliances, then there is nothing to deal with the incident, take a look at this week end in mid sussex, two house fires, the second has to be attended by crews 10 miles away. Good job there was not an RTC or persons reported in the same area, it's only a matter of time before a life will be lost. I was retained for over 16 year's .

  2. You are absolutely correct Anonymous and many serving and retired firefighters have said the same. Unfortunately the County Council don't care about more lives lost and more property damaged. They also expect WSFRS managers to deceive the public in to thinking they are safe, when any fool can see we are all at greater risk.

  3. Unfortunately the newspaper did not include my letter in response to this article this week. So here it is:

    The Observer article headed “Fire chief’s pledge”, is yet another County Council attempt to mislead. “Crews will always be there” is simply not true. Increasingly fire engines are left in fire stations during emergencies, because there is no crew available. Examples include East Wittering - available for less than half the year (47%), and the second fire engines at Midhurst (61%) and Petworth (51%). Why? Because WSCC has failed to provide enough firefighters to fully crew these stations.

    To cover up this failure Councillors will remove those second fire engines, even though they predict extra deaths and more property damage as a result. 23 of the extra 55 deaths will be in the Midhurst and Petworth areas, yet this will only save £42,000 of the overall £1.6 million cuts. An unacceptably high cost for so little saved.

    They claim credit for fewer fire deaths than in the 1970s and 80s, but refuse to accept responsibility for an increase in West Sussex deaths every year since 2008-09. Instead of repeating the mantra about prevention, which is nothing new, they should be honest about their deteriorating protection for residents. Longer response times, retained availability 16% below standard last year, and fewer fire crews than in any year since 1939. Despite this, WSCC callously plan to cut five more.

    The ‘quickest fire engine’ will be much slower for many people in danger. For some it will be too late. Conservative Councillors are putting political dogma before the safety of the public and firefighters.