The petition is growing with more than 1,000 signatures already. Whilst collecting signatures, using the paper copy of the petition, I have been struck by how upset and angry people are about these cuts.
Many were unaware of the cuts and they are all shocked and appalled that such an essential service is having its ability to respond to their emergencies cut so drastically. Some even mentioned their displeasure at the previous cuts at Bosham, East Preston, Findon, Horley, Keymer and Lancing, and were stunned that more cuts were on the way.
Whilst I have had a few people not sign, because they are in a hurry or think it is a survey, every person who has stopped to listen has signed. Absolutely no one has disagreed with the intentions of the petition. As one lady put it, "who do the fools making these cuts think they are".
Amongst the hundred's of people I have spoken to on this issue, I have only found one person, not connected with the fire service, who had heard about the public consultation. As intended by West Sussex County Council, that person was totally unaware of the predicted extra deaths and property damage. That person had read the consultation document and said it did not 'seem too bad'. They also said that, had they known about the real consequences, they would have written to object.
We all realised that Lionel Barnard's claim that 'everyone in West Sussex knew about it' was ridiculous, but you would have thought I would have found more than one. It perhaps shows how little attention people pay to what they hear on local radio and how few read local newspapers in detail. It certainly shows that the consultation reached very few people and that those it did reach were misled.
Finally, I would also like to share what one of Councillor Barling's constituents thinks of his cuts:
Lives will be lost in wake of cuts
He is of course, absolutely right!