Friday, February 1, 2013
I refer to the letter “Fire fight isn’t right” (Opinion, January 23).
Mr Courtnadge is right that an informed debate is required, but sadly his comments add nothing to that debate.
Firefighters are paid for doing a job that can be very unpleasant, demanding and dangerous. They also pay a significant amount of their salary in to their pension scheme.
When they are not responding to emergencies, they are maintaining equipment, training and carrying out community safety work.
As for his friend, who did not need the fire service at her road accident, does he expect firefighters to be psychic?
The only reason that two fire engines turned up is because a call to the fire brigade said that someone was trapped.
There may well be a need to save money, but are the risks associated with the cuts acceptable?
Are the people of Ilfracombe content to wait an extra five minutes for the first fire engine to arrive during the day?
Are the people of Combe Martin and Woolacombe happy to wait that extra time for a second fire engine to arrive?
Are there enough retained firefighters available during the day to crew both of Ilfracombe’s fire engines?
From the figures given in the original article, it would appear that for 10 per cent of the time there are not enough for even one.
That would mean people in Ilfracombe having to wait for the first fire engine to arrive from Combe Martin or Woolacombe.
It is increasingly difficult to recruit retained firefighters who can be available during the day.
I would suggest that local politicians ask the fire and rescue service for some accurate figures on actual availability of retained firefighters and their actual response times.
They should also ask what contingency plans will be in place if that availability gets worse.