First we have Louise Goldsmith, Leader of the West Sussex Fire Authority, saying that West Sussex would not comment on the Hampshire proposals, 'because we just don't do that'. Within weeks a West Sussex officer is seconded to Hampshire and is actively supporting their cuts at public meetings. Then West Sussex not only formally comment on the proposals, but supports them.
This was done even though, in their comments, they said that they were concerned about reductions in the attendance from Hampshire, and about INCREASED response times in West Sussex. Now we have Gary Towson, who is not a spokesman for West Sussex firefighters, but a spokesman for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, miraculously claiming that response times will improve!
It seems that instead of reflecting West Sussex concerns, Mr Towson is speaking on behalf of the Hampshire Fire Authority. I would urge him not to repeat the deception being perpetrated by Hampshire. You cannot legitimately compare the current response times for a properly equipped fire engine and four firefighters, with the response time for a poorly equipped, converted van and just two firefighters. Two firefighters who cannot carry out rescues and will struggle to tackle anything more than a dustbin fire.
As for the Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman's comments, the technology is not new and is only of limited value. It may look good at carefully staged demonstrations, but many real fires require adequate numbers of firefighters, not gimmicks. There are even four firefighters shown in the demonstration photograph, who are actively engaged in firefighting or providing safety cover!
The concept is untried, untested and unsafe! Response times have already increased and the Hampshire cuts will see further significant increases for an effective response in both Hampshire and West Sussex.