This photo is a stark reminder of why we need a speedy response by full crews on proper fire engines.
A news release has now been issued:
Fire service cuts campaigners are warning that West Sussex residents, who live near the Hampshire border, will face increased dangers from an inadequate fire service response. West Sussex County Council pay Hampshire Fire Authority to deal with emergencies in that area, because their fire stations are nearer. Hampshire Fire Authority now say they plan to remove SEVEN of the NINE fire engines nearest to the West Sussex border and replace them with inadequate vehicles.
Two of those vehicles will be ‘Intermediate Vehicles’, which are small Fire Engines carrying less water, less equipment and less firefighters. The other five will only be ‘First Response Vehicles’, which carry even less water, less equipment and less firefighters. Instead of four to six firefighters on a proper fire engine, these will respond with as few as two firefighters.
Speaking for campaigners, retired firefighter Tony Morris said, “That may be OK for a dustbin fire, but for building fires these inadequate crews will only be able to watch and wait for help to arrive on proper fire engines. Many residents, in an area that includes Southbourne, West Marden, South Harting, Rogate, Milland and Linchmere, will be left with a second or third class service from Hampshire”.
Mr Morris urged people to respond to the Hampshire consultation, which is due to start on 14 September. He said, “This is a double blow for residents in this area after Bosham fire station was closed and second fire engines were removed from Midhurst and Petworth. Hampshire fire engines often provide support in the Midhurst, Chichester and Manhood areas, so proper resources will take longer to arrive there too. West Sussex County Council must also tell residents how they will properly protect people living in these areas, if Hampshire make these cuts”.
Commenting on Hampshire Fire Authority claims that “the safety of the public and our firefighters remains our absolute priority”, Mr Morris said, “It is rather like listening to ‘Del Boy’ on his market stall describing inferior goods as the ‘bees knees’. The difference of course is that one may see you waste your money on faulty goods, the other may cost you your home, your business, or your life.”