MAYOR Mike Deacon was spot on when he described the cuts to Felixstowe’s full-time firefighters as bad news for the town.

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Funeral letter brings a smile

AGE UK have written to me asking if I have made adequate provision for my funeral.

It seemed to imply they knew something I didn’t – and anyway aren’t they an organisation for, um, older people. I am only 50.

The arrival of this sort of letter always causes great merriment for everyone else and the usual “Well, you are getting on a bit now, why not sit down and have a rest, dear” type comments.

Frankly, I couldn’t care less whether my funeral provision is adequate or not. I won’t be alive to care. Oh, as long as the congregation sings Be Thou My Vision.

It was a terrible decision that will put people involved in 999 incidents in even more danger with a 68 per cent increase in response times in situations where minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

And all to save £140,000 a year – just 0.014 per cent of the county council’s £1 billion a year budget.

It beggars belief that such a small amount of money could not be saved elsewhere in such a massive organisation, from other efficiencies, and avoiding cuts in frontline services.

Every household across the county is cutting back on its spending in this time of austerity – including cutting down on electricity and gas usage, buying cheaper food and household items, doing deals and looking for bargains, not driving to cut fuel use, and missing holidays, treats and other luxuries.

It would be nice to be assured that the county council is doing the same on behalf of taxpayers.

Instead, Felixstowe – a town set to grow by around 2,000 households in the next few years – has seen its fire service cut, and this time next year we will be having public consultation on proposals to get rid of all the resort’s full-time firefighters.

No one doubts the ability and commitment of the on-call fire crews, who do a fantastic job, turning out for emergencies 24-hours a day at weekends and also throughout the evenings and nights.

They also provide a superb service in being the second crew to support the full-timers at incidents during the day.

The county council’s statistics are very persuasive. The on-call crews attend the majority of fires, crashes and other incidents – and senior officers are confident cover would be adequate to meet the risk.

But there is no substitute for a full-time service, able to respond immediately to an incident. Last year we saw how the availability of full-time crews meant that a row of homes was saved when a lightning bolt struck a house in Alexandra Road. Any delay could have meant a very different outcome.

It is, of course, the great unknown – an unpredictable science because every incident is different. We all just have to hope Mr Deacon’s fear that it could be a decision the town lives to regret does not come true.

1 comment

  • I dread the day that there is a fire in Felixstowe and the A14 is closed yet again by a lorry or pile of onions! The saving of £140,000 is a drop in the ocean and I'm sure most Felixstowe residence would happily pay the extra few quid on their council tax to keep the service local. Afterall, we all stand to loose a lot more than that with the 68% increase in response times which then has a knock on affect ultimately to insurance premium increases as insurance claim amounts increase in the area. I see so many reports about how we are spending millions on the Spa Gardens, the multi million pound project to rebuild the pier etc etc but, ultimately we cant spare a few quid to keep the residence safe. I just don't understand the logic!

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    Homeofstowe

    Friday, November 2, 2012

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