'Don't expect 100% fire cover

PUBLISHED: 01:01 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH is not considered a high-risk area and should not expect 100 per cent guaranteed fire cover. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service chief Paul Young this week said the town should not expect a guaranteed service, even from its full-time fire

EXMOUTH is not considered a high-risk area - and should not expect 100 per cent guaranteed fire cover.Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service chief Paul Young this week said the town should not expect a guaranteed service, even from its full-time firefighters.He admitted crucial minutes would be lost if proposals to replace full-time firefighters with retained crews were given the go ahead.But Mr Young said he had 'absolute faith' in retained firefighters.He rubbished earlier claims Exmouth's fire station had been upgraded to 24-hour cover in 1996 because of the town's sprawling population and number of homes for the elderly.When the Journal pointed out that, two years ago, Exmouth failed to raise a retained crew when a blaze broke out at Camperdown Terrace - resulting in an 11-minute wait for Budleigh Salterton's crew to arrive - Mr Young said the fire service did the best job it could with its resources, but was not infallible."We can't plan for every eventuality on every occasion. Our job is to do everything we possibly can, but it's humanly impossible to give 100 per cent all the time," said Mr Young. "I have got confidence 99 per cent of the time that the system works fantastically well and the retained firefighters do a fantastic job. "I can't guarantee even full-time firefighters will be available all the time. The pump could be attending somewhere else. I have confidence that the majority of the time it works perfectly well."I don't agree that Exmouth was identified as high risk. We used to have a different way of gauging risk areas. It was graded A-D. Exmouth was C - it was graded two from the bottom."Mr Young said cutting front-line fire services, making cuts to middle management, changes in training and staffing management measures were all being considered to plug a £900,000 shortfall in government funding.

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