Suffolk County Council plans to close fire stations, cut the number of fire fighters and reduce the number of fire appliances. Wrentham Fire Station is to be closed and a fire engine lost in Lowestoft. It is estimated that about eight firefighters positions will be lost in Lowestoft. In addition Fire Engines will be removed from Ipswich, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds.
Suffolk Fire Service is already finding it difficult to provide the current service. Fire fighters are suffering attacks on their pensions and conditions at work. An obstinate government is demanding that they work until sixty and pay more for a reduced pension. On call fire fighters (previously known as retained fire fighters) are now harder to recruit and retain. Employers are less willing to release staff and workers already carry heavier burdens. A spell as an on call fire fighter can be used just to beef up a c.v. The commitment is shorter.
Consequently fire crews are often understaffed and fire appliances out of action. Crews have fewer experienced staff and fears of mistakes and delays grow. The huge fire in Sudbury last year showed how precarious fire cover already is in Suffolk. It took hold of several properties, a dozen families had to be evacuated and one rescued from a burning building. It needed fifteen fire crews and 75 firefighters to bring the fire under control.
Councillors will argue that there are fewer fires and therefore the service can safely shrink. But fire fighters and appliances are also needed to attend road accidents, floods, rescues and industrial accidents.
They will argue that neighbouring fire stations can dispatch help when needed. But there is no guarantee, even now, that a neighbouring fire station will have a functioning crew.
It isn’t surprising that this government says that hospitals are surplus to requirements, that pensions aren’t affordable or that work and pay need to be precarious. Now, our fire service is too big. It is ensuring that we will pay for the greed and irresponsibility of the bankers who caused the crash and the near collapse of the economy.
The Suffolk Fire Service is being degraded to cut £1.3m from the budget. That is the only reason. The rest is just wind. Sign the Petition and attend the Public Meeting to oppose the cuts.
Riverside Road Council Offices (from the South it is off the Relief Road, before ASDA)
MONDAY 1ST FEB 6.30 to 8.30pm
More information about the ‘consultation’ can be found at: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/…/consult…/fire-service-redesign/