‘Misleading’ fire call out figures are criticised

EAST Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s figures logging the call outs for Battle Fire Station are ‘very misleading’, a local firefighter has said.

Clive York, who is based at Battle, says that ESFRS only logs calls to the station which is initially called to the scene.

The service does not log calls to the stations which provide back up.

Battle provides vital back-up to Hastings and Bexhill and the station’s Rope Rescue Unit and Technical Rescue Unit are often called to action across the county, sometimes beyond.

ESFRS wants to downgrade Battle Fire Station to retained status, claiming that Battle has a low number of calls and the downgrading would have ‘no significant impact on service performance.’

But Clive, speaking at a meeting of Battle Town Council this week, says this is not true.

He said: “The consultation document is very, very misleading.

“For example if Burwash is called, but is unable to attend, and Battle attends, it’s still recorded as Burwash.

“We log our own calls and we know exactly how many call outs we have had, day to day, week to week.”

Clive went on to tell councillors that Battle firefighters are often called out to cover calls for Burwash, as the appliance and crew are not always available - or trained.

Earlier this week, Burwash and Battle firefighters were called to reports of a small fire in the kitchen at a residential home in Hurst Green.

The fire was out before the crews arrived, but if the blaze had spread, the Burwash personnel on the scene could not have entered the building - because they were not trained to use the breathing apparatus.

Clive said: “They turned out with unqualified personnel.

“If there had been a fire, they could not have gone in there.”

The campaign to save Battle Fire Station is gathering pace, with local businesses, schools and the Battle Chamber of Commerce backing the local firefighters.

A public meeting, to discuss ESFRS proposals to downgrade Battle Fire Station, will take place at the Battle Memorial Hall on April 7.

Three members of the Fire Authority have already confirmed they will attend, along with the deputy chief fire officer. All are welcome from 7.30pm.