Help needs to be at hand
In today’s modern world, for many reasons, we have become less compassionate and helpful to our neighbours and local community in general. In past times, help was at hand, when ever it was needed. People looked after each other, cared about the elderly, sick, those less fortunate than themselves and those who’s lives or property was in peril. Although I am aged, I’m not quite that long in the tooth to remember the community cry “All hands to the pump” I take it that means the village pump? We don’t have those anymore.
Now, in our transient society, things have changed and not, in some circumstances, for the better. Rural communities have been greatly hit by latter day funding cuts. In recent years, resources for many of North Devon’s major services, including Police and Hospitals have been, or are in the process of being cut. Sights have now been set on our Fire Service.
In recent weeks it has been announced that proposed cuts are being made within the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services, in particular they propose to close seven rural North Devon fire stations, those under threat include: Appledore, Ashburton, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Kingston, Topsham and Woolacombe. The service said it “wanted to bring an outdated service into the 21st Century and fire incidents in both areas had decreased 36% between 2008 and 2018”. Unions have expressed concern over the loss of jobs and the increase in response times, with crews having to come from further afield.
This morning, while out walking my dog through Appledore, I witnessed an incident which was attended by Appledore Fire Station, RNLI, based in Appledore the Coast Guard and other members of the emergency services.
Apparently, a fire had broken out on a small pleasure craft at Crow Point, which is at the southern end of Braunton Burrows, on the Taw-Torridge Estuary, North Devon. I am not sure of the response time, but it must have been very quick as the occupants of the vessel were -thankfully- unhurt, but, very shocked. The question here must be ” If the services concerned were not Appledore based, would the outcome have been different”?
Listening to an interview with Fire Chiefs on Radio Devon the other morning, it was argued that in modern society, our needs have changed and the outmoded service needs to take into consideration, modern day needs, For instance: “all homes are now fitted with smoke alarms, which reduces the risks of fires going unnoticed”? Are they? To my mind, with the amount of holiday cottages and second homes in the area, I would have thought, properties which are empty for large parts of the year, pose greater risk, Smoke alarms or not. Consideration also has to be given to the large amounts of visitors in vehicles which visit the area during the summer months. Firstly, these would impede the engines trying to attend fires, ensuring longer response times and secondly, with the invention of smart phones, vaping devices with exploding chargers and a plethora of other necessary! electrical items, are people as careful in other peoples properties as in their own homes?!! I’ll let you ponder that, but in the meantime:
Sign the petition against the closure of your local station NOW