‘Price of preventing fire cuts – less than a cup of coffee a year’

Firefighters from Bury St Edmunds pictured with the appliance that may be lost due to cut backs. ANL-151125-174457009

Firefighters from Bury St Edmunds pictured with the appliance that may be lost due to cut backs. ANL-151125-174457009

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Firefighters in Bury St Edmunds are launching a petition to fight cuts to the service which could see one of the town’s engines axed.

The fire budget is set to be slashed by £1.34 million by April 2018 as part of Suffolk County council’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) to cope with a reduction in its government funding.

Firefighters in Bury are launching a petition against cuts to the service

Firefighters in Bury are launching a petition against cuts to the service

The move would mean Bury would lose one of its three fire engines and up to 10 on-call firefighters.

Green watch firefighter Matt Hassey, on behalf of the Bury crew, said cutting the budget would leave little wiggle room for the service. He argued the actual cost to each taxpayer in Bury to keep the service as it is would be less than a cup of coffee a year.

“The fire service is one of those things you may wish never to use in your life but it is nice to know when you do need it it will be there,” he said.

“The removal of the third fire engine at Bury will affect the response to house fires.

The service is already failing to meet response times so any cuts will only compound that issue

Firefighter Matt Hassey

“The service is already failing to meet response times so any cuts will only compound that issue. It is frightening to think they are saying this is ok for the people of Suffolk.

“If you look at the Bury cuts, for every taxpayer in the town to keep what we already have works out at £2.80 a year - for less than a cup of coffee you can keep your service.”

On Saturday, crews will be out in Bury looking for signatures for their petition.

Pat Dacey, District Commander for West Suffolk, said the cuts would not affect the response time of crews first on the scene but may affect supporting engines.

He said: “We understand these are challenging proposals but these proposals follow a lot of thought and a lot of planning. They are a result of a reduction in funding provided to the public sector overall, balanced against a 40 percent reduction in call volumes.”

A consultation runs until February 22. See www.suffolk.gov.uk/emergency-and-rescue/fire-service-redesign

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