their jobs. 40 support staff are also being sacked.
Part time firemen will be used to make up the numbers meaning that the second
engine here will be fully crewed by part timers. This means we will have one whole
fire engine available to respond to emergencies, the second engine must wait for
the part time crew to arrive.
The Authority also decided to buy smaller engines which are cheaper. No official
statement has been made as to how much capability these smaller and cheaper
engines lose when compared to the current units.
Duty fire fighters will be expected to pick up the slack caused by the loss though
no provision seems to have been made to cover the extra hours the firemen will
need to work. Also the non fire related duties such as fire inspections, drills,
training etc do not seem to have been mentioned.
With only a single crewed fire engine the ability of the firemen to do anything that
takes them away from the station and therefore not available to respond to 999
calls is very likely to be curtailed.
As a final note. The fire service also said that in order to cut down on costs they will
no longer respond to fire alarms from commercial and business locations unless
there has been a confirmation of the fire. I’m sure that comment will go down well
with the many businesses that have offices, factories, warehouses and so on in the
industrial estates and countryside around Taunton.
If the fire alarms are now going to be ignored until a human spots the smoke and
calls in the fire it seems to me that any fire is going to be well alight and to have
plenty of time to spread before anyone notices.
I wonder how long it is going to be before Somerset Insurance companies begin to
raise the rates for fire insurance. After all if the fire service is no longer going to
respond to automatic fire alarms then claims from businesses are likely to be a lot
As a country we need to make cuts. There is only so much money to go around.
But is making such savage cuts in the Emergency services really what we should