County Council claims, that fire service cuts would not downgrade the service to the public, have again been proved false.
Cuts in 2010, and earlier this month, have reduced the number of fire engines in the County from 46 to just 35. Assurances were given that the latest changes would improve the normal availability of crews, from the low to mid-twenties, up to around thirty.
Evidence shows that during the Easter weekend the number of crews available at one time dropped to as low as 20. The following weekend it dropped as low as 19, and the next weekend it was as low as SIXTEEN. The situation was in melt down with frantic pleas for part-time firefighters to do overtime, and fire engines parked up in laybys to try to cover several fire station areas.
The changes since 2010 are shown here for each District Council Area. Also shown is the desperate state of crew availability, based on the worst figures we have seen this month. “This shows how very badly the Council has let West Sussex residents down”, added the spokesperson.
· Adur District - 1 fire engine removed, leaving 3. On occasions none available.
· Arun District - 2 fire engines removed, leaving 6. On occasions only 3 available.
· Chichester District - 3 fire engines removed, leaving 6. On occasions only 3 available.
· Crawley Borough – 3 fire engines removed, leaving just 2.
· Horsham District - 1 fire engine removed, leaving 7. On occasions only 1 available.
· Mid Sussex District - 1 fire engine removed, leaving 8. On occasions only 2 available.
· Worthing Borough – 0 fire engines removed, leaving 3.
In addition, the full-time crewed fire engines now usually only have 4 firefighters on them, instead of 5. This limits the actions that the crew can take when they arrive. It also means firefighters may be forced to take greater risks, or leave the public in danger until reinforcements arrive. Training is also limited with only four firefighters on duty.
The County Council falsely allege that the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Stop the Cuts group has used inaccurate figures, even though they only use WSCC figures and Government figures. The group's concerns have again proved to be correct, whilst WSCC claims have again been shown to be false. No doubt they will respond with more lame excuses and further inaccurate claims.
Saturday 18 April 2015
The screen print below is from the service’s crew availability software and was provided by serving personnel who are dismayed by the deception. Pumps available is the total number of standard fire engines with crews available. Each one is shown as, for example, ‘40P1’. Those in green are available, those in black are not.
None available at Arundel, East Preston, East Wittering, Haywards Heath, Henfield, Hurstpierpoint, Lancing, Partridge Green, Selsey, Steyning, Storrington, and Turners Hill. Second crews not available at Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, East Grinstead, Horsham and Shoreham.
An appalling total of 19 not available.