Firefighters say the county is at risk of a blaze with inadequate resources to fight it and they have no confidence in bosses.

The Fire Brigades Union believes managers in East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are "failing to suitably and efficiently run the service".

Bosses insist changes are being made amid funding challenges and they remain committed to keeping the public safe.

Firefighters say crucial information is being lost in new IT systemsFirefighters say crucial information is being lost in new IT systems (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

The FBU yesterday held a vote of no confidence in the service's senior leaders. It said it had taken into account factors related to the running of the fire service including over reliance on overtime and critical training courses being cancelled.

Simon Herbert, FBU brigade secretary, said: "‘The committee has not taken this decision lightly.

"Fire Brigades Union representatives have worked closely with the service over the last six months to seek improvements to the issues raised.

"However, FBU members believe too little has changed and many of the issues remain unresolved.

"The FBU believes that the service has had plenty of time to make the necessary improvements, but have been too slow to do so."

Firefighters at a blaze in Brighton last year (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

The union said that areas of East Sussex are often left without adequate fire cover even when measured against the service's own standards, and new IT systems have meant information is being wiped or lost from the system.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it has prioritised areas mentioned in the notice of the vote of no confidence and staff have worked "very hard" over the last year to improve.

A spokeswoman said: "The FBU stance is disappointing given its active involvement and engagement in this improvement work. We do appreciate that change and reform can be difficult for some.

"We continue to exceed our attendance standards for responding to emergencies and invest in activities to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place.

"We are changing the way we deliver operational training and looking at how we continue to invest to ensure we are fit for future challenges.

"Our IT now allows us to review and process information provided by the public and our staff, in compliance with a raft of new legislation and to enhance public and firefighter safety. 

"We remain focused on further developing our IT capability to consistently make the risk information we gather accessible to those who need it."

Fire engines at the Royal Albion fire last yearFire engines at the Royal Albion fire last year (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus) Fire bosses are balancing difficult financial prospects 

A report released by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found that "systemic challenges" are slowing improvement across the service.

The spokeswoman continued: "We consulted the public in 2020 on our changes to crewing and are implementing these changes, based on our understanding of the risks in the community.

"We remain committed to providing an effective service and keeping the public safe. We continue to ensure we can respond appropriately to the needs of our communities."

In July last year, the Fire Brigades Union said residents were left in danger during a major blaze in Hastings. 

With ten fire engines at the incident and 13 out of service there were just three engines left to cover the whole of East Sussex.

During the Royal Albion fire in Brighton last summer, the union said firefighters had to work 13-hour shifts and urinate in buckets while battling the devastating blaze in what they called "extreme and unsafe conditions".