Felixstowe: Concern voiced over plans to remove all full-time fire officers from resort
PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 February 2014
Community leaders have called on fire service chiefs to cancel proposals to remove all full-time officers from one of Suffolk’s biggest towns.
Strong concerns have been voiced over the extra time it will take on-call crews to reach emergencies in Felixstowe, especially as response times have declined with reductions so far in the town’s full-time firefighters.
Felixstowe Town Council agreed by seven votes to four to ask Suffolk County Council to cancel the withdrawal of the remaining officers, saying it was unconvinced financial savings outweighed the real risks to lives and property.
Councillor Michael Sharman said Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service had not made a clear case for the changes for the town, which has 12,000 homes and 1,500 businesses, and is due to have 1,760 more homes.
He said: “There has been a significant dip in the performance standard of the first appliance within 11 minutes from 94.29% in 2012 to 83.87% last year – the lowest for at least a six-year period.
“This is a fact that must be associated with crewing arrangements being changed from a five-day full-time crew model to a five-day nucleus model.
“Moreover, there has also been a dimunition in the performance standard for the second appliance, down from 100% in 2012 to 95.83% last year.
“I am very concerned that the availability of the second Felixstowe appliance continues to fall and the actual number of hours of unavailability continues to rise dramatically and is projected to be almost 1,000 hours for a full year.”
Fire chiefs say their latest review of the phased reduction in officers supports the withdrawal.