Felixstowe: Fire fight campaigners may be ready to agree crew compromise deal

FELIXSTOWE: While every attempt is still being made to keep Felixstowe’s seven-day full-time fire cover, campaigners would settle for a compromise, it was revealed today.

County councillor John Goodwin – who has organised tomorrow night’s public meeting over proposals to axe the resort’s day-time crews – said keeping cover from Monday to Friday would still be a victory in the current climate of cuts.

“I think if we could secure full-time day-time cover from Monday to Friday then we would have done really well,” he said.

“I cannot praise our firefighters highly enough – both the full-time and on-call officers – because they do a fantastic job and their community safety work means we are a safe town to live in.

“But we must have adequate and proper fire cover for a town of our size and I think five-day cover could provide that so we have the cover when people are at work and the area is very busy. At weekends there would be more on-call firefighters available.

“My really big fear is the number of residential homes for the elderly and nursing homes we have and it would be too awful to think of anything happening and we could not get a fire crew there quick enough.”

Tomorrow night’s meeting at Orwell High School, Maidstone Road, at 7.30pm, will be attended by Suffolk’s fire chief Andy Fry and his deputies Mark Hardingham and Phil Embury, and also Colin Spence, portfolio holder for public protection.

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More than 2,000 people have signed the Evening Star Save Our Fire Crews protest petition and people have until May 5 to let Suffolk County Council know their views.

“I really hope people will come and give their views – we have all the big guns coming and this is the time for people to make their points and ask their questions,” said Mr Goodwin.

The proposed changes will mean on-call firefighters will be the first line of defence in every emergency and it will take around four minutes longer during the day for the crew to arrive at an incident – and possibly much longer for the second engine to come from Ipswich.

The county council has said the extra delay is acceptable.

? What do you think of the proposed cuts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.

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