LETTER: We must support our fire service

The Grenfell Tower accident should be a wake-up call to all of us to look out for not just ourselves but our neighbours who may need extra help, too.

What can I do about fire safety? Do I have my own personal safety plan? Do I know where my identity documents are kept? Are my electrical goods safe and have they been checked recently? Have I a small amount of cash set aside for an emergency in a safe place?

From Worthing Borough Council’s website: “Did you know that currently the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) offer a free fire safety visit to your home to offer advice on how to make it safer and, where appropriate, fit smoke alarms or other specialist fire detection equipment free of charge. You may be eligible if you are aged 65 or over; are a lone adult/lone parent with young children; have a permanent disability; have permanent mobility difficulties; have a Careline/Lifeline; cannot hear a standard smoke alarm and live alone”.

But the sting is in the tail. Our fire and rescue service is under threat of more cuts – which means longer times to access the fire, fewer people to respond and fewer modern appliances to reach the higher rise flats.

I understand that the target response time in West Sussex is 14 minutes for the first fire engine and this time is not being met for 15 per cent of the emergencies it is called for (West Sussex Fire & Rescue Stop the Cuts update, July 2017 ). The numbers of firefighters, fire engines and appliances to reach the dizzy heights of our developments have to increase.

Whilst prevention is much better than cure we also need modern resources to keep us safe. One special remotely controlled vehicle capable of reaching 15 storeys is not enough. We must support our fire service.

Hazel Thorpe

Leader, Lib Dem Group,

Worthing Borough Council,

High Street

Tarring

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