|Suffolk fire crew plans for legal action if decision is taken to close Suffolks 999 control room|
On 7th December fire chiefs urged County Councillors to vote through controversial plans to close and sell-off Suffolk’s only emergency fire control room without any prior public consultation. The Fire Brigades Union was preparing legal action if they do.
Suffolk’s fire crews are calling upon the Councillors to step back and reconsider the needs of the Suffolk communities before they take the decision to close the 999 control room based at Colchester Road Fire Station.
The plans were to be voted on 7 December at Endeavour House in Ipswich by a meeting of the Suffolk County Council Cabinet which consists of only 10 Council portfolio holders rather than the full County Council. The FBU also called for a full public consultation exercise so that the people of Suffolk can have their say before their democratically elected councillors vote for or against it.
Adrian Clarke Regional Secretary FBU East Anglia said: “The Emergency Fire Control is at the heart of our 999 service and is the starting place for our fire & rescue response to every 999 call in Suffolk. We believe these plans will detrimentally affect the way we deliver our life-saving service and the people and tax-payers of Suffolk should be allowed their say before any decisions are taken – after all they are the ones who will dial 999 next time they are in trouble and it is their lives that will depend on our response."
"Emergency Fire Control is at the heart of our 999 service and is the starting place for our fire & rescue response to every 999 call in Suffolk" says FBU chair
Andy Vingoe Suffolk FBU Chair said: “Everyone is saying no cuts to frontline services and the fire service is the frontline of the frontline. A firefighter saving someone’s life comes at the end of a chain of events. The firefighter at the end of the chain gets the praise but it is the firefighters in the emergency control room who are the first to start dealing with the 999 call, they are the ones that mobilize the fire crews, who stay on the line to support and advise terrified people trapped by fire and keeping them safe until the fire crews arrive at the scene and take over. Break the chain and the life is lost!”
Andy Message Suffolk FBU Secretary said: “This is a decision based on finance, not on safety. Frontline firefighters are not convinced at the claim that moving how our calls are handled, and all the associated computer technology that goes with it, will not impact on public or firefighter safety. Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service (SF&RS) has had it’s finances squeezed for years and is already the cheapest Fire & Rescue Service in the UK with our frontline fire crews already spread very thinly across the County. We are concerned that this cut is the start of even more to come, compromising the safety of the residents of Suffolk, and the firefighters that serve them. I strongly urge the public to ask why they have not been consulted on this issue, and ask SF&RS to publicise what COULD go wrong if they carry out this move."