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Petition to: Cancel the proposed cuts to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in Runnymede

This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

We the undersigned petition Surrey County Council to Cancel the proposed cuts to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in Runnymede. More details

More details from petition creator

When a fire is reported, the first appliance should reach it in 10 minutes or less. This standard should be achieved in at least 80% of cases - under these proposals this will not be possible. The response across Surrey would increase by 38 seconds but Runnymede would be hit particularly hard. Fordbridge has a 12-minute run to Egham using blue lights, Camberley is approximately 18 minutes and Chobham (with only intermittent 'retained' staff) around 16 minutes. Three appliances are needed for an incident on the M25 or M3 and four appliances needed for a house fire. Despite these demands, Egham Station regularly attends incidents in Berkshire. What has Egham and the surrounding area done to be excluded from very minimum standards? The potential for disaster and loss of life is self evident.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has experienced brutal cuts, with 131 firefighter positions slashed between 2010 and 2018 - a 17% reduction in the workforce. The proposed cuts would see a further 70 firefighter posts axed in the area, cutting numbers by 22% since 2010.

This follows a December 2018 report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) voicing 'serious concerns' about the service's effectiveness and efficiency in keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks.

Proposals from Surrey County Council would see drastic reductions to fire cover at night, with Egham, Painshill and Banstead fire stations closed at 1800 hours. Fire cover at Guildford, Woking, Camberley and Fordbridge would be cut in half.

The drastic reductions to firefighter availability at night are under the guise of what the Council calls 'risk-based cover', as more fires occur during the day than in the evening. However, there is, in reality, a far greater chance of fire deaths at night, as victims are often asleep. Home Office figures show that, from 2017-18, 73% of all deaths from residential fires and 77% of all deaths from accidental residential fires occurred between the hours of 1800 and 0900. The appalling Grenfell fire started with an electrical fault at 1am.

Response times in the area have already suffered, with it now taking an average of nine minutes and 13 seconds for a crew of four firefighters to arrive at a fire, the longest response time for Surrey on record. In 1994/95, it took just six minutes and 52 seconds to send a larger crew of five, showing the cumulative effect of decades of cuts to the service.

These proposals offer no improvement in public safety and do nothing to address how firefighters are supposed to keep themselves safe. We value the work of our firefighters, their safety, and we value our lives and we reject the proposals.

Current signatories

Fiona Dent, the petition creator, joined by:

  • 1,111 offline signatures
  • Updated: 19 Jan 2021