Saturday, 21 March 2015

Water Carrier move from Littlehampton to Petworth

This was announced as a benefit to Petworth and the surrounding area but, like a Trojan horse, looks can be deceiving. Moving it from a station with a good crewing record to one with crewing difficulties makes no sense.

If Petworth firefighters respond to a fire in their area and decide a Water Carrier is needed there will be no firefighters left at the station to crew it, so one will have to be sent from Burgess Hill or from Hampshire or Surrey.

This Water Carrier, accompanied by Petworth’s fire engine, will attend incidents across more than half the County, which will then leave Petworth without a fire engine.

It also appears that most incidents requiring a Water Carrier are nearer to Littlehampton than they are to Petworth. That will increase response time across much of the County. This 'Water Carrier locations and incidents' map shows known incidents for 2013 and 2014.

When Petworth are attending incidents in their area, the Water Carrier will not be available for calls in other areas. Littlehampton has three times as many firefighters as Petworth, so is clearly better able to crew both their fire engines and the Water Carrier.

It now seems that they are so concerned they will not have enough firefighters to crew the Water Carrier and the fire engine at Petworth, they have said they can take both, even if the fire engine goes with less than the minimum crew of four! That is disgracefully putting firefighters in greater danger and ensures they will not be able to operate both vehicles properly.


  1. An x on a map is all very good but what it doesn't show is if the Water Carrier was mobilised as a PDA or a make up. If it's part of a PDA it might not even get used at that incident. Also as I'm sure you will know travel time for the WrC playes a big part in an Incident Commanders decision as to if they make up for 1 or make up for pumps.

    Also Littlehampton might have 3 times as many firefighters as Petworth but that doesn't mean there crewing is any better. Don't forget after April 1st they will only have 1 appliance to crew not 2.

  2. These are the incidents shown in the WSFRS press reports. They usually only show appliances that arrive at the incident, not those mobilised on the PDA and returned. It would be good if WSFRS actually showed the location of incidents that Water Carriers were used at. They have not and with Water Carriers at Haslemere and Bordon the move makes little sense.

    As for crewing the official figures show Littlehampton better than Petworth. Recent calls also suggest this has got worse at Petworth, with them unable to crew anything at times. In fact I was told they were off the run for part of the weekend and are again today.