Gallery: Firefighters march in Ipswich to protest against cuts
AROUND 100 Suffolk firefighters, their families, and supporters, marched through Ipswich on Saturday to protest against proposed cuts to Suffolk Fire Service.
The protesters were aiming to draw attention to the potential effects of the cutbacks and were also hoping to galvanise public support in a bid to prevent them.
A black coffin with the words RIP Public Safety was carried by some of the marchers while others held placards opposing the money-saving changes.
Andy Message, acting brigade secretary of the Suffolk Branch of the Fire Brigades’ Union said: “Our concerns are that people will have to wait longer for a fire engine, there will also be fewer officers available to respond to incidents and there will be slower response times to some incidents. There will also be less proactive work, both for safety inspections of premises and, potentially, smoke alarm installations.
“These proposed changes, including a downgrading of stations at Felixstowe and Haverhill, will lead to a worse service.
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“In 1974 we had more fire engines crewed by full-time firefighters than we will have at the end of this year (if the cuts are made).
“Today we are taking our message about what is happening on to the streets of Ipswich and talking to people to make them aware of the changes that are being proposed. We are also encouraging them to fill in a response to the consultation which started this week.
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“The public calls on us to help them and we are asking them to help us at the moment.
“We would just ask for people to become involved and realise what is happening. They need their voices to be heard.”
Mr Message said anyone who wants to have their say on the proposed cutbacks should log on to the Suffolk County Council website and following the link to the consultation page. Alternatively they can log on to Facebook and get to the link through the Stop Cuts to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service page.