Felixstowe: Fire cuts fuel 999 delay worries

UNION leaders say a slower response to 999 calls in Felixstowe is inevitable if the town’s full-time firefighters are halved.

The Fire Brigades Union said on-call firefighters live and work away from the fire station and must stop what they are doing to make their way through traffic and weather to the fire station before they can climb aboard the engine to respond to emergencies.

Andy Vingoe, chairman of Suffolk FBU, said: “It’s the end for Felixstowe. Everyone in the fire service knows this is a foregone conclusion.

“The councillors will inevitably pass the recommendation, and Felixstowe as a community will undoubtedly suffer.

“We were told by the government, ‘no front-line cuts’, but how much more front-line can you get?

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“This move is bad for business, it is bad for residents, and it is bad for visitors, all of which will wait longer for a fire engine when they desperately need one.”

While the number of full-time officers on shift wil be reduced to four, this may often mean only two or three available at any time, due to leave, training and other commitments, not enough to man a fire engine.

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Fire chiefs say the town has 21 on-call officers available, including three new officers to cover during the day.

They are confident that the cover will be adequate for the level of risk.

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