1,000 signatures reached
To: Surrey Fire & Rescue Service
Save Our Fire Service
We ask you to cancel the proposed cuts to Surrey Fire & Rescue Service in Runnymede(published 11-3-19), they will not make us safer, they will do the opposite and make us less safe.
Why is this important?
When a fire is reported the first appliance should reach it in 10 minutes or less, this standard should be achieved in at least 80% of cases: Under these proposals this will not be possible. The response across Surrey would increase by 38 seconds but Runnymede would be hit particularly hard: Fordbridge has a 12 minute run to Egham using blue lights, Camberley is approx 18 mins and Chobham (with only intermittent ‘retained’ staff) around 16 mins. 3 appliances are needed for an incident on the M25 or M3 and 4 appliances needed for a house fire, despite these demands Egham station regularly attends incidents in Berkshire. What has Egham and surrounding area done to be excluded from very minimum standards? The potential for disaster and life-loss is self evident.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has experienced brutal cuts, with 131 firefighter positions slashed between 2010 and 2018 – a 17% reduction in the workforce. The proposed cuts would see a further 70 firefighter posts axed in the area, cutting numbers by 22% since 2010.
This follows a December 2018 report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) voicing “serious concerns” about the service’s effectiveness and efficiency in keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks.
Proposals from Surrey County Council would see drastic reductions to fire cover at night, with Egham, Painshill and Banstead fire stations closed at 18:00. Fire cover at Guildford, Woking, Camberley, and Fordbridge would be cut in half.
The drastic reductions to firefighter availability at night are under the guise of what the council calls “risk-based cover”, as more fires occur during the day than in the evening. However there is, in reality, a far greater chance of fire deaths at night, as victims are often asleep. Home Office figures show that, from 2017-18, 73% of all deaths from residential fires and 77% of all deaths from accidental residential fires occurred between the hours of 18:00 and 09:00. The appalling Grenfell fire started with an electrical fault at 1 am.
Response times in the area have already suffered, with it now taking an average of nine minutes and 13 seconds for a crew of four firefighters to arrive at a fire, the longest response time for Surrey on record. In 1994/5, it took just six minutes and 52 seconds to send a larger crew of five, showing the cumulative effect of decades of cuts to the service.
These proposals offer no improvement in public safety and do nothing to address how firefighters are supposed to keep themselves safe. We value the work of our fire fighters, their safety and we value our lives and we reject the proposals.
Additionally you can reply to this consultation, the comments box is the most useful part:
How it will be delivered
A letter will be sent electronically before the 26th May deadline to
Surrey Fire & Rescue Service
Surrey County Council
Runnymede Borough Council
Nick Herd MP - Minister for Policing & the Fire Service
Karen Lee MP - Shadow minister for the Fire Service
Philip Hammond MP for Runnymede