Firefighters urge fire authority to reject cuts

Devon and Somerset Fire Authority must listen to residents’ concerns and reject the cuts to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said today, in an address to a fire authority meeting.

The fire authority debated revised proposals, which include removing eight fire engines, closing two fire stations, and crewing some fire engines responding to incidents with less than four firefighters. [1]

The service was forced to revise proposals after a successful campaign by the FBU, which saw over 4,000 people respond to the service’s consultation and over 43,000 people sign a petition rejecting the cuts. Over 95% of responses to the public consultation opposed the proposed cuts to frontline services.

Addressing Devon and Somerset Fire Authority, James Leslie, Devon and Somerset FBU Brigade Organiser, said:

“We’re pleased to see that the service has paid some attention to public opinion. However, although the new proposals are a marked improvement on the initial plans, there is still much to be concerned by.

“We welcome the commitment to achieving the initial response standard of the first fire engine arriving at an incident within 10 minutes on 75% of occasions, but this must be for a fully crewed fire engine. The service should also commit to reach its full attendance standard of nine firefighters at an incident in 13 minutes, which the service are still refusing to report on.

“We support the service’s plans for more prevention and protection work, but this should not be at the expense of front-line services. The consultation made it clear that the public do not support any cuts to front-line services. The fire authority stated that the public consultation was not a tick box exercise and, in the light of such an overwhelmingly negative response, we demand that they reject the recommendations as they stand.”

The cuts were proposed by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in June last year in an attempt to save costs. Despite promises from senior management to protect frontline services, full-time fire cover and jobs have been slashed since the merger of Devon Fire and Rescue Service and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in 2007.


[1] Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service recommendations to Fire Authority following public consultation, 2 January 2020


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