17/04/2017 – Press Release - Fires Cost Lives
We are very worried about the increase in deaths due to fire in 2015-16. Official figures show that a total of 303 people died across the country. That was a 15% increase in such deaths over the previous year.
These figures should come as no surprise to Haywards Heath and Mid Sussex people. Greg Mountain, our candidate for Parliament in 2015, has campaigned against Fire and Rescue Services cuts over the last few years, including the reduction of fire prevention activity around Haywards Heath.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has faced savage cuts by the County Council in recent years. We have seen the number of fire-fighters cut, the size of crews on fire engines reduced and fire stations closed.
Besides the increase in deaths it is taking longer to get to incidents. Every minute of delay means a higher risk of death from fire or at a road accident.
We must stop West Sussex County Council imposing further austerity measures on our Fire & Rescue Service. Our fire fighters get less public recognition than other emergency services and deserve equal support. We expect them to respond to major incidents, terror attacks, chemical spills, major fires or multiple vehicle incidents.
And now there are proposals to hand responsibility for them to Police & Crime Commissioners. This is sheer folly. Police and fire services are different professions, operating to different standards set by their own professional bodies. It must not happen.
In May voters of Mid Sussex have a chance to stop further erosion of our Fire & Rescue Service. The Labour Party will look to reverse Tory cuts. Remember you never know when you might need help from the Fire & Rescue Service.
Hilary Schan-Martyn, Will Blunden, Sarah Moss, Lisa Desbruslais
Haywards Heath Labour Party County Council Candidates 2017