Published: April 25, 2013
Fire service cuts could 'put lives in Burnham-On-Sea area in danger'

Controversial cutbacks to the Devon and Somerset's fire service could put people in the Burnham-On-Sea area in danger, the Fire Brigades Union has claimed this week.

A Government grant to the fire service is being reduced by 17 per cent over the next two years, meaning it has to find £5.5million in savings.

The deadline for public consultation on a proposed draft plan to reduce frontline fire fighting runs until this Friday (April 26th).

Proposed cuts include making some full-time crewed appliances part-time, including one at Taunton.

Tam McFarlane, the Fire Brigades Union representative at Burnham Fire Station, pictured right, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Taunton often works with Burnham's retained firefighters in dealing with major incidents and providing support when needed."

"Clearly, not having full-time crews available 24 hours a day at Taunton to assist them will put pressure on Burnham's crews at certain times, slowing down response times and potentially putting people at risk."

He added: "It is a cut too far and it must be stopped. The voice of local people needs to be listened to and I would urge people in the Burnham area to have their say by submitting feedback before this Friday's consultation deadline."

Fire service officials have said safety will not be compromised. The proposed plan states that "some whole time firefighters affected at the Taunton station may be offered on-call contracts or new, flexible contracts which would provide improved efficiency and increased fire cover in rural areas, and promote community safety as appropriate. We would seek to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible."

To take part in the consultation, visit www.dsfire.gov.uk/AboutUs/HaveYourSay

Burnham Fire Station currently has two fire engines and a welfare unit. It is manned by 20 on-call (retained) firefighters. Additional retained crewmembers will soon be required at Burnham and anyone interested in applying can express an interest by contacting the fire service's HQ at Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters at The Knowle, Clyst St George, Exeter, EX3 0NW or call 01392 872 200.


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