Selaine Saxby MP – Statement on Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Proposals
‘I broadly welcome the proposals being made by the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. Earlier this month Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services reported the service to have an overall ‘Good’ rating, but highlighted that it did not make the best use of its resources and that it should improve the availability of its on-call services.
The report highlighted that ‘Between 1 April and 31 December 2018, on-call monthly engine availability ranged from 77.2 percent to 84.2 percent against a service target of 100 percent. On occasions, there would be fire engines that would drop below 20 percent availability for a month.’ This is not acceptable, and this entire review was a pre-emptive consultation to address this deficiency.
All the set options proposed during the consultation were rejected and I am glad to see the service proposing a bespoke solution. The closure of the Woolacombe station, in particular, seemed nonsensical and I am glad that they have recognised this and have committed to retaining this station. While disappointed that we shall be losing the second appliance in Lynton it is important for the area and Exmoor that the Porlock station has remained open. Whilst the service already works closely with the other emergency services in rural areas, it is in this collaborative work that we will find the solution for enhanced and better services.
I am not yet convinced that ‘Roving’ appliances are the right answer and while this option remains on the table, I am glad to see that DSFRS will be consulting further with the Fire Brigades Union on the practicalities of how this could work.