An urgent SOS – Save Our Station – to fight for your full-time fire service before it is too late is the battle cry to Exmouth from its community champions.
An arson attack in Littleham has prompted its Conservative councillors to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and speak out in support of protecting the town’s 24-hour fire service.
Councillors Bruce de Saram, Christine Channon, John Humphreys and Joy Whipps are urging Exmouth residents to make their voices heard and take part in Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service’s (DSFRS) cost-cutting consultation before it is too late.
Councillor Bruce de Saram said the recent evening arson attack proved Exmouth’s need for round-the-clock fire cover.
He has called for the public to fight for Exmouth’s wholetime cover, and hit out at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service’s proposal to scrap the town’s night time firefighters in favour of an on-call service.
Cllr de Saram said the time was now to tell the fire service why Exmouth needs its full-time fire cover, before the public consultation ends on September 22, 2019.
He said the arson attack on a public toilet block in Jarvis Close, Littleham, on Wednesday, August 7, showed how fire could breakout at any time.
Cllr de Saram said losing the full-time fire cover at Exmouth would have a domino effect on Budleigh Salterton’s fire safety – the town is set to lose its fire station in the cuts’ consultation.
Cllr de Saram said: “Because it was an evening fire, we are looking at supporting the 24-hour service.
“We urge that the public get back to the fire service and complete the consultation questionnaire.
“We are trying to get the message across, that the consultation has not finished yet and people should put their points across to the fire service.”
He added: “We cannot thank the firefighters enough for their prompt response to this incident.
“What this incident does show is the need for Exmouth to retain its 24-hour fire service response.
“We hope that this incident is logged as further evidence in support of the 24-hour fire services for Exmouth.”
DSFRS is canvasing Devon and Somerset residents until September 22, 2019, about a range of options to save the service money, including station closures, slashing crewing hours and removing fire engines.
Collating fire statistics based on call-outs and rescues from across the two counties has prompted DSFRS to call for changes to be made to the way it works,
Proposals for Budleigh are to close its fire station; Exmouth faces a change of status to day crewing and on-call night cover; proposed for Honiton and Sidmouth is a change of status of a second fire engine to on-call cover at night only.
DSFRS said it plans to introduce six roving fire crews to cover Devon and Somerset.