Felixstowe: Delight as fire crews saved

Campaigners are celebrating today after it was announced that the town’s full-time fire crews will remain on duty five days a week until at least 2014.

The county council approved an amendment to the fire service’s three-year Integrated Risk Management Plan yesterday, meaning the resort will retain its full-time cover during normal working days and this will not be pulled without further consultation.

The decision follows months of campaigning by The Evening Star and the Fire Brigades Union and has today been welcomed by community figures who believe the right and sensible decision has been made.

Original plans looked at replacing whole-time crews with on-call firefighters. Retained crews will cover weekends.

Activist and campaigner Ian Heeley believes the compromise was a good solution but has implored the council to make sure the decision lasts.

He said: “I think it was the only solution.

“At least we have a manned crew in Felixstowe five days a week – I think it’s a very good solution – it’s better than not having anything at all.

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“This is a very very good result but for me it’s a solution but it has got to be long term and not just for tomorrow.”

Doreen Savage, Mayor of Felixstowe, added: “I’m absolutely delighted – this is a sensible decision – you couldn’t leave a town the size of Felixstowe without full-time firemen.

“I am sure everybody will feel a lot safer because of this decision, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Prior to the amendment being rubber stamped, chairman of Suffolk Fire Brigades Union Andy Vingoe addressed the meeting and said two petitions had been handed to the county council – one from Star readers and the other collected by members of the FBU.

“People were queuing in the street to sign our petition and fill in the response forms,” he said.

Are you happy with the fire service changes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk