Slashing Exmouth’s full-time fire service will put the lives of residents and visitors at higher risk of injury and death than now.
Crisis talks are being held by Exmouth Town Council tonight, Tuesday, September 10, to push Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to drop cost-cutting plans to slash the town’s 24/7 fire cover.
Exmouth Town Council said there was an ‘urgent need’ for councils and groups to work together across East Devon and collectively fight the Safer Together consultation proposals.
The council said the fire service has given a ‘false picture’ of Exmouth’s fire cover needs and should go back to the drawing board.
Woodbury Common fire statistics had been excluded from information designed to help the public when filling out the options questionnaire, the council said.
Exmouth Town Council said it was ‘deeply concerned that the proposed changes will lead to insufficient manning and equipment levels and so put the lives of residents and visitors at higher risk of injury and death than now’.
Fire service cost-cutting plans include ‘downgrading’ Exmouth’s round-the-clock full-time fire cover and replacing it with a crewed fire station during the day, and on-call firefighters during the night.
Councillors at tonight’s meeting, 7pm at Exmouth Town Hall, are expected to oppose all cost-cutting options set out by DSFRS and tell the fire service to produce a fresh consultation.
In setting out the agenda for tonight’s meeting, the town council said of the DSFRS public document:
- This council notes the trend for fire-related casualties seems upwards over the last three years.
- Figures shown give a false picture of the work the service does; they exclude the large-number of non-residential calls, such as fires on Woodbury Common.
- The report fails to include Exmouth’s seasonal increase of visitors or over-50s relocating to the town.
- No information given relating to climate change; heatwaves or floods.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is canvasing residents across the two counties until September 22, 2019, about a range of options to save the service money, including station closures, slashing crewing hours and ‘switching off’ fire engines.
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 ten 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.
East Devon’s firefighters said the changes, cuts and closures proposed WILL mean waiting longer for help to arrive.
- Time is running out to make your views known on the Safer Together proposals.
- An Extraordinary Meeting of Exmouth Town Council to discuss proposed changes to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, open to the public, is tonight, Tuesday, September 10, at Exmouth Town Hall, starting at 7pm.