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East Sussex Fire and Rescue service cuts will cost lives report reveals
Multimillion-pound fire service cuts could mean one extra person dies every five years in the city, according to the fire service’s own paperwork.
East Sussex Fire Authority (ESFA) needs to save £7.1 million over the next five years, which could mean a fire engine is lost in either Preston Circus or Hove.
According to the ESFA’s consultation document, if a fire engine is lost from Preston Circus it could mean one extra person dying every 5.3 years in the area. If an engine is lost in Hove, it could mean an extra fatality every 9.1 years.
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However the consultation document also says there will be “no significant impact on predicted fatalities”.
The statement has been criticised by Nancy Platt, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, who is now urging people to sign a petition against the cuts.
She said: “People will be astounded to know the consultation document claims there will be no significant impact on predicted fatalities.
“I believe that one extra death is one too many, if these cuts go ahead it will mean the unluckiest lottery of all.
“We all need to know that if we have to call 999 we will get the help we need. This consultation document shows that won’t happen for everyone.
“There are only five fire engines for the whole of Brighton and Hove. These proposals would take one away at a time when our population is growing and more properties are being built.”
The cash-strapped authority also agreed to consult the public on proposals to cut up to 24 firefighter jobs across the county. Stations in Mayfield, Forest Row and Herstmonceux are at risk of closure and services in Hastings and Battle could also lose a retained crew.
Des Prichard, chief fire officer, said it was an “almost impossible task” to find £7.1 million savings from a budget of just £39 million.
But Simon Herbert, Fire Brigades Union chairman for East Sussex, has previously said he was “amazed that Mr Prichard has been unable to offer any alternatives to cutting appliances and firefighter numbers”.
To view the petition visit www.saveourfireservice.org.uk.
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