Dear Sir/Madam – I am writing this letter/email following the announcement of proposed changes to Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service which were presented to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Fire Authority on Friday 28 June 2019. The Fire Authority have agreed a 12 week consultation period and are very interested in hearing local citizens and stakeholders views on these proposed changes for a new service delivery operating model.
Under the new proposals, the Service would seek to move underused resources from where the risk is low and invest more into work to reach the most vulnerable members of society and help keep them safe.
This includes proposed closures of a number of fire stations where risk and activity is low and the removal of fire engines that are underused. We would look to reinvest some of the financial savings into prevention work in the community.
There are several reasons why change is needed. Lifestyles and geographical profiles of both Devon and Somerset have changed dramatically since many of our fire stations were built. Supported by the prevention work that has been carried out locally and nationally and by the Service, the number of fires attended by crews has fallen by a third in the last 10 years. We are also the largest employer of on call firefighters in the country. This provides challenges to recruitment and availability of fire engines within some areas meaning that some communities are better served by nearby stations where availability of firefighters and fire engines are more guaranteed.
We appreciate that any suggestion of removing stations or fire engines can be unsettling for residents and we want to ensure that residents feel informed and supported as a community. We will be holding public drop-in exhibitions in the localities that are affected by the proposals and other locations across Devon and Somerset throughout July and August. This is so that we can talk with local residents and explain the changes and reasons for change as part of the consultation process.
In addition to this, as an organisation we work with closely, we wanted to make sure you were aware of the proposals and had the opportunity to have your say through the consultation period that will run for 12 weeks starting from 3 July and finishing on 22 September 2019. Please note a change of dates to the consultation period due to a delay in the start of the consultation are incorrect on the attached poster, the correct consultation period date is 3 July to 22 September 2019.
The link below provides information about the dates we will be visiting your area and how everyone can have their say on the proposals. Should you wish to speak to a member of the Service or receive more information, please contact the Consultation and Engagement Team using the details on the poster. Please feel free to pass on this email and poster to anyone you feel would be interested.
For more information around the consultation, proposals and to take part in the consultation online please follow the link https://tinyurl.com/y2tccrrc
If we can be of any further assistance or you would like to discuss this email further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yours Sincerely, Best wishes
The Safer Together Programme Team