Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Hampshire Fire & Rescue Cuts approved

Another sad day with a decision from the Hampshire Fire Authority that residents in Hampshire and neighbouring counties will pay the price for. 

I was unable to listen to the whole debate, but what I did hear showed that Councillors did not fully understand the implications of these cuts and were dazzled by new technology claims, which don't stack up in the real World.

In an earlier radio interview with the Chief Fire Officer, it was like listening to a second hand car salesman telling you that this great car, that had been clocked, had one little old lady owner who never used it much and it’s a bargain. The reality is:

1. They intend to dishonestly compare response times for the existing crew of four in a proper fire engine, with the response time for two firefighters in a converted van, in an effort to massage the figures. 

2. To meet response times, retained (part-time) crews will be pressured to respond with just two, rather than wait for more firefighters to arrive at the station.

3. An inadequate response may be as quick as now, but an effective response will often take much longer. 

4. The high pressure lance will only improve conditions inside for firefighters who eventually enter in breathing apparatus, but it is of no use at all for anyone in need of rescue. 

5. Two firefighters will not be able to make a meaningful intervention at many incidents. Even at fires, with just two firefighters, it will often take longer to check the situation and carry out other essential tasks, which will delay any use of the new technology.

6. It is a change in approach, but one which will see the fire & rescue service being less effective, with more loss of life and more property damage as a result.

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