EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Aug. 15, 2012) - The FBU and the Chief Fire Officer met today and agreed a way forward to maintain fire cover within East Sussex.
Recently East Sussex fire and rescue service managers have failed to maintain fire cover within towns and villages of the county. When challenged over their decisions by the FBU they have refused to use previously agreed policies to maintain the fire cover that the public pay for and expect. This decision has put the public safety and firefighters safety at great risk.
Today, the Chief Fire Officer agreed that provisions and policies are now in place to maintain fire cover supplied by appliances crewed by fully trained personnel with the necessary equipment. The FBU welcomes this decision.
However the FBU are still dismayed that managers within the service refused to listen to the concerns of the FBU prior to the meeting with the Chief Fire Officer. The FBU believe that the public and firefighters safety was needlessly put at risk.
Whilst the agreement to maintain fire cover is welcomed by the FBU, it does not consider it a robust way of maintaining fire and rescue cover as it relies on off duty personnel. Should these personnel not be available then it would again affect cover.
Maintaining correct establishment levels of personnel to be able to cope with foreseeable shortfalls together with pre-planning must be utilised as far as the FBU are concerned, not relying on off duty personnel to prop up the service.
As previously stated the FBU are concerned that within East Sussex there have already been reductions to frontline posts due to cuts being made and these cuts are now affecting the services ability to maintain fire cover within the county.
The FBU are again calling on the Chief Fire Officer and the Fire Authority to revise their plans regarding further cuts to frontline firefighter posts. Savings can and should be made without frontline post losses. This was laid out in the letter to all chief fire officers and fire authorities in 2010 by the minister for fire and rescue, Bob Neil.
Over the last year deaths due to fire have significantly risen within East Sussex, and any further cuts in the opinion of the FBU will lead to further deaths and injuries.
Social deprivation and fire go hand in hand and therefore the most vulnerable in our society including the elderly, children and lowest paid will be put at the greatest risk if these further cuts go ahead.
The FBU is committed to protecting the public and protecting firefighters.
East Sussex FBU will oppose any job cuts with all means available.