The chief fire officer of the West Midlands, Vijith Randeniya has said that the cuts will have a bad effect on the service they provide:
People would be at much more risk, and our ability to respond in the way we currently do would be severely disrupted. Therefore, those people have an increased chance of losing their life or suffering injury, and therefore, damage to the infrastructure of the country as well.
Local Government Minister, Mark Prisk, claimed that falling numbers of accidental deaths at home from fires showed that cuts could be made to the fire service, completely ignoring the fact that increased spending in the past decade is likely the exact reason why deaths have fallen, and that cutting spending will probably reverse the trend, which has seen the number of deaths drop from 310 in 2001/2 to 187 in 2010/11.
We should also ask why he has so narrowly defined the statistic he is using – have deaths in industrial or office premises risen in this time?
Either way, the West Midlands Fire Service cannot expect to provide the same level of service, to respond as quickly to emergencies, with 11 fewer stations and 600 firefighters sat at home claiming job seekers allowance instead of protecting the citizens of the UK.
The reality of this is that more people will die, sustain serious injuries or suffer the loss of their possessions as the fire service becomes less able to respond to incidents quickly or with the level of equipment and personell required to safely tackle large fires. It is not just the public that will be put at risk, but also firefighters themselves.