The clock is ticking on the future of East Devon’s fire cover and it is up to YOU to make a stand and Save Our Service.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) is canvasing communities until September 22, 2019, about a range of options to save it money. These include station closures, slashing crewing hours and ‘switching off’ fire engines.
That means you have just THREE weeks left to make your views known on the future of YOUR fire service.
Firefighters from across East Devon are sending out a double SOS – Save Our Stations and Save Our Service – and are urging residents, traders and councils to help them protect our towns and villages, keeping our families, homes and businesses safe.
Join EastDevonNews.co.uk in campaigning to save the stations facing closure and cuts, by taking time to fill in the fire service’s Safer Together consultation questionnaire before it is too late.
The fire service is asking a range of questions based on a number of options set out in its consultation booklet.
Under the proposals set out by the fire service:
- Topsham fire station is at risk of closing, relocating one of the town’s fire engines almost 10 minutes away to Middlemoor.
- Budleigh Salterton and Colyton fire stations could also close.
- Another option is downgrade Exmouth fire station from 24/7 full-time cover to day crew (full-time firefighters) and on-call (retained) night crewing.
- ‘Switching off’ Sidmouth and Honiton’s second fire engines. Both towns will have one daytime fire engine and crew; the second fire engine and on-call crew will only be available from 6pm until 8am.
With just weeks to go until the public consultation closes, firefighters from across East Devon are stepping up the crusade to tell you the truth about how the cuts and closures will affect our homes and safety, and how hard East Devon could be hit, saying ‘it would only take one incident to completely deplete the cover’.
Firefighters say the public has failed to fully grasp the knock-on effect cuts and closures will have on our East Devon towns and villages.
Crews campaigning against the cuts are worried at the number of people unaware the consultation is in full flow because it relies on public input to provide feedback.
East Devon’s firefighters want the public to know:
- Currently, in Exmouth – wholetime (fulltime) firefighters can be on the way to a fire within one minute.
- If Exmouth’s cover is cut at night, it could take on-call firefighters five minutes to reach the fire station before they can leave for the emergency.
- Now Exmouth crews can reach most areas within 10 minutes. If 24/7 cover is cut at night, the on-call crew will only have five minutes to reach most areas because the other five minutes will be spent reaching the station and leaving.
- This means, if Exmouth station is downgraded, it will reduce the 10-minute distance the on-call crew can travel, after you take away the five minutes it takes to arrive at the station.
- If Budleigh and Topsham fire stations close, the next available fire engines for Exmouth will have to come from Middlemoor, Honiton, Sidmouth, Seaton or Ottery St Mary.
- Currently in Sidmouth there are two fire engines and nine people to respond. The proposal to ‘switch off’ one Sidmouth daytime fire engine means Exmouth crews will have to respond if Budleigh station closes.
- If Colyton closes and Sidmouth’s second fire engine is ‘switched off’ during the day and the crew is called to a daytime residential fire in the town, there will be one crew on-scene, and no immediate back up available until Seaton’s crew arrives – compromising firefighter safety.
- If Honiton’s second fire engine is ‘switched off’ and changes from 24-hour on-call crewing to on-call night cover (6pm-8am only), Honiton will have to wait for back-up to come from Ottery St Mary.
- DSFRS is proposing to ‘switch off’ 30 fire engines across Devon and Somerset and introduce six roving fire engines across the two counties.
- Serving firefighters say you cannot predict where fires will start, or where the roving crews should be positioned.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it has examined the fire risks to communities and activity levels of fire engines, spanning five years.
Fire chiefs say some fire stations have more resources than others, and aim to match these to high risk areas.
Financial savings would be reinvested fire prevention work, the fire service said.
A final decision on DSFRS’s proposed plans will be made by the Fire Authority in November and any agreed changes would start in 2020.
Now watch the DSFRS Safer Together video