Cutting fire cover is ridiculous idea

PUTTING people’s lives at risk is not the way to save money.

It is unbelievable that county council officials can even consider cutting the fire service – and axing Felixstowe’s full-time day crews is devastating news for the town.

Having a crew able to respond to an emergency immediately can be vital when every second counts – saving lives, preventing injuries, preserving property and possessions.

While our excellent retained firefighters will still respond, they will be the front-line teams racing from their day jobs to the fire station to kit up, join the fire engine, and get out to the incident with crews from Ipswich – at least 15 minutes away up the A14 – as their back up.

In rural areas, that kind of situation is fairly normal.

It’s a consideration people who choose to live in the countryside have to take into account.

This though is Felixstowe.

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It is a bustling, busy urban area and resort.

With the Trimley villages, it is a densely-populated area of more than 30,000 people which is set to grow by around 6,000 in the next 15 years with the building of 2,000-plus new homes.

It is home to Britain’s biggest port, where thousands of people work, and where the potential for danger is never far away and where the town’s fire service have helped at many incidents over the years, including fires on board ships and in port buildings.

Being a resort town, the population swells in summer with not only day-trippers but staying visitors in hotels, guest houses, caravans and tents.

It’s a town, too, with one very busy road in and out – block that and no-one gets through, including fire engines.

Yet despite this, bosses at the fire service believe the town should have a poorer quality of service.

It makes you wonder what you pay your council tax for.

The fire service, too, is not the first of our emergency services to feel the town can be served from afar.

The ambulance service decided its paramedics would be better off roving around or sat somewhere near Trinity Park, Ipswich, waiting for action.

The town’s police patrols now go to Woodbridge to be briefed and are then sent elsewhere if they are needed for a more urgent operation.

Cuts have to be made – we all appreciate that – but targeting our all-important and vital emergency services is not the way to make them. These services should be the priorities. The council should abandon this move immediately and look for savings elsewhere in its vast organisation.

? Do you think Felixstowe’s fire cover should be cut? Write to or Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.

? Read Richard Cornwell’s full column every week in FX – the eight-page pull-out all about the Felixstowe area in the Evening Star on every Wednesday.