Firefighters in East Sussex are warning that plans to cut the number of firefighters by 20% across the county will have a massive impact on the safety of the public and firefighters.
On Friday 14 February members of East Sussex Fire Authority will vote on whether to consult on plans to reduce firefighter numbers by 50â€“80.
But members of the Fire Brigades Union claim that the countyâ€™s rapidly growing population â€” which swells further with tourists over summer â€” means that such significant cuts to the small fire service will put the publicâ€™s lives at risk.
Simon Herbert, chair of the FBU in East Sussex, said: â€œ It is a shame that it would appear that Chief Fire Officers and their highly paid managers are content to cut fire cover and put public lives at risk due to budget reduction rather than stand up to Westminster officials and state they cannot run their Fire and Rescue Services safely with such budget reductions. As a result of this we are seeing the Fire Service cut to shreds up and down the country.â€
Fire fighter numbers are being cut and fire stations closed up and down the country as a result of a reduction in budgets forced upon Services by Central Government.
Mark Brown, FBU secretary for East Sussex, said: â€œThese proposals would mean the public waiting longer for a fire engine when they need one, whether because of fire, flooding or to be cut from a road traffic collision.Â Attendance times have already risen over the last few years, and any further increases are not acceptable to firefighters or the public.â€
The FBU is urging the public to write to the local councillors that make up East Sussex Fire Authority to â€œput public safety firstâ€ and oppose the cuts.