Fire safety proposals could have bigger impact on Sidmouth says station commander

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 01 August 2019

Sidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler. Ref shs 31 19TI 9461. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler. Ref shs 31 19TI 9461. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Sidmouth's leading firefighter is urging residents to think about the knock-on effect for crews of a major shake-up of the service.

Sidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler. Ref shs 31 19TI 9465. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler. Ref shs 31 19TI 9465. Picture: Terry Ife

A consultation is under way into possible changes and Steve Fowler, the town's station commander, said proposed station closures at Topsham, Colyton and Budleigh and a reduction in assets could have more impact on Sidmouth than people realise.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is hosting drop-in sessions around the county and will visit Sidmouth Library on Thursday, August 15.

Mr Fowler is urging residents to have their say and said the proposed changes are among the biggest he has seen in his 23-year career.

The fire service has set out seven options for the future, with six of them including station closures, service reductions and fire engine relocation, and the other being a mixture of the options.

Sidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler with firefighter Allan Kay. Ref shs 31 19TI 9451. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler with firefighter Allan Kay. Ref shs 31 19TI 9451. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Fire Station has two engines but could see one of its appliances earmarked for nighttime use only.

A replacement engine will arrive imminently at the station and is fitted with new equipment to assist in road traffic collisions.

Mr Fowler said: "If there is a house fire in Sidmouth during the day, both fire engines would go to that and be backed up by others as necessary.

"If we have one available in the day it will reduce how quickly to have back-up appliances.

Sidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler. Ref shs 31 19TI 9461. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth Fire Station Commander Steve Fowler. Ref shs 31 19TI 9461. Picture: Terry Ife

"It's a removal of assets which will have a knock-on effect."

Mr Fowler said a large part of the service is on-call crews and emotions are running high due to proposed closures.

He said: "It's for the public to make their opinions known and that is what this session at Sidmouth Library is about.

"We will have high management coming along to explain what is being discussed and why theses changes are sustainable and safe.

"Our message we want to get across to the public is they must have their say and fill out the questionnaire on what they think is right."

The drop-in session at Sidmouth Library on Thursday, August 15 will run between 1pm to 5pm.

Consultation questionnaires can be completed on the fire service website until Sunday, September 22.

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