by willforster on 1 April, 2019
Surrey County Council is planning to take seven fire engines off duty at night including one in Woking in a bid to save £3 million a year.
The Council has published a ‘Making Surrey Safer Plan 2020-2023’, which outlines how the County Council wants to change the local fire and rescue service. Under the plan, every fire station which currently has two or more fire engines would see its night-time resources cut back, while three fire stations would close completely at night. Woking Fire Station, along with stations in Camberley and Guildford would all see the number of available fire engines reduced at night, as would the new fire station in Spelthorne.
The Conservatives running Surrey County Council have been charging residents more Council Tax for less services for years now, but I think this plan to cut the fire service goes a step too far. These are dramatic cuts to fire cover at night, here in Woking our fire cover would be cut in half.
The Council wants to reduce night-time fire cover as there are less fires at night. However, there is a far greater chance of fire deaths at night, as victims are often asleep. Last year, 73% of all deaths from residential fires occurred between the hours of 6 pm and 9 am. I am amazed the County Council is proposing these cuts after the already hard pressed fire service was recently reviewed and labelled inadequate. Response times in Surrey are already the longest on record.
As well as halving our night-time fire cover, these cuts could have a particular impact in Woking. The Surrey Fire Bridge Union have said that firefighters would not be able to tackle fires in high rise buildings quickly and safely if proposed changes to the service go ahead.
If you feel as strongly about this as I do, please respond to the consultation and urge the Council not to cut night-time fire cover here.Leave a comment