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Surrey Cuts

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Yep, takes a different kind of stupid to further your failings towards residents after such a damning inspectorate report. Well done Surrey 👍🏻

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Well personally it is disheartening. ( I don't normally put a "these are my opinions not my employers" disclaimer but I will here)

Our station had very little concrete information about the proposals other than the rumor mill until the public consultation came out, which caused some vexation as you can imagine.

There's lots of unanswered questions such as how these new crewing systems would be modeled, what happens to the "surplus" staff if you need less just for day crewing etc. The focus would be on more community safety but there are existing problems such as a very clunky admin system for CS data, sometimes poorly targeted CS visits with quantity seemingly chased over quality and of course lack of staff. The plan doesn't say how we would address these things.

The plan doesn't have a great increase in pumps on during the day (basically a net of two where two monday to friday pumps would be about at weekends on a new day crewing roster). So I'm guessing the "productivity gains" would come from the day crewing pumps doing 12 hours freeing up more "useable" time for CS and the life when the public are around. Thats my semi-educated guess anyhow

So far only one watch at ours have had any formal input, so until things become clearer its hard to say how it will pan out. The proposed plan is here


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Oscar, your vexation is matched my friend (same disclaimer applies) it’s really difficult to have a meaningful conversation at present where there is so much detail missing.

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It's so hard to read this. Such an affluent part of the country but it's Fire and Rescue service is on it's bare bones & getting worse. The morale must be incredibly low and it's at the point that even people that have little or nothing to do with the fire service can read through the proposals. When is enough, enough? You have my sympathy (for what it's worth) and I hope things get better.

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  • 1 year later...

There are a lot of articles on Surrey at the moment. I don't really take much notice, but Surrey seem to be having some issues at the moment. I doubt just as much as we all are when said and done. 

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On their arses is the frequent term heard, especially the other week when the Cobham incident was on going.  West Sussex amongst had resources in the county and even brought their RDS to standby on their stations for immediate response!

A job in Pirbright brought in Hampshire, Surrey, London and Berkshire on the day.  Lucky if half of the appliances are on the run each day.

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I had the opportunity earlier this year to speak to a group of Sub O level people, I think it was about 13 of them. They all left Surrey on the same day. What they were saying and the fact they left Surrey in such numbers was really quite shocking. Apparently their CFO, instead of trying to address the reasons why so many had resigned, was dismissive.  He didn’t believe that they would go, and if they did he said “they’ll be back” Surry is a county FRS, and lost 13 of its key leaders, those in charge of watches at fire stations, overnight....no matter where you sit on the matter, you must think this is alarming. 

They were from all over the Service, they didn’t all know each other well, it wasn’t a conspiracy, they just could not sit and be part of what’s happening there. I believe there was another wave due to leave, perhaps a total of about 30. 

They talked about an absolute reliance on OTB appliances, bullying and harassment.....it seems bad  


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We’ve just picked up one of the ex-Surrey officers on our watch as the new Sub. Got to say, their loss is our gain.

Apparently, LFs to follow shortly.

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At what point will someone step in? Wasn't it Avon where someone had to step in as things got bad a few years ago?

To loose a few members of staff at the same time is bad but 13 and more, what manager of any level doesn't realise something is wrong at that point?  

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I just dont know. Now I hate to roll out the old "blame the tories" scapegoat (not that I voted for them) but I feel that Surrey still being a council run brigade and not its own authority has something to do with it.

I mean it should be reasonably solvent. In a very wealthy county with high council tax rates it should be able to afford to keep firefighters on pumps. I dont understand quite why they need to liberate so much cash from a strapped fire service with such aggressive cuts but also be so in denial about its impact.

During my five minute surrey career I did meet SO-H, SC-H and DQ (who in particular I thought was a really grounded bloke). None of them seemed genuinely malicious and wanting to decimate a proud service, more just people under a great deal of pressure to cost cut from somewhere else and pursuing maybe a slightly misguided idea that the cuts wouldn't have material impact.

They place an inordinate amount of faith in the dynamic cover tool control use to plot where they see as "high risk" areas based on past incidents. Its cool but this isnt Minority Report. There are loads of variables that go into whether a fire or RTC will start. Past precedent is one tiny part of the equation. You cant dismiss areas as "low(er) risk" due to its history. The other thing is the DCT shows you just how short you really are in glorious technicolor. There was so little slack in the system and now there is even less. ( I may have a hazy memory of what I was shown but maybe @Becile can explain a bit more about how it works?) 

I loved the brigade but the uncertainty of where I would end up, at the same time as something coming up closer to home, meant I made the sad decision to leave. Having had redundancy looming over me in the job I had before I wasn't up for going through all that again, and there were loads of people in the same position wondering what impact it would have on their working lives.

I'm dissapointed the leadership team seem to be seeing what they have done as a sunk cost and have to proceed with it no matter what. I thought from meeting them they were reasonable enough people to consider the pros and cons of their decisons. Its depressing to watch.

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I’ll comment on the DCT which a lot of services use. (See other services through the link)


it allows you to view live mode, (what’s happening )Pumps, specials, officers. But also preplanning mode (doesn’t change anything)which you can set resources to different locations/delays (on call turn out time ) or off and it will give you prediction of response times, based on a plethora of data captured from various sources. It’s not linked to live traffic (at the moment) but you can programme road closures into it. It also shows otb resources, but doesn’t take these into consideration for mobilising. It can also show what activities are being undertaken, and is updated roughly every 29 seconds or so.

it’s a good bit of kit.

I,m sure you will appreciate I won’t comment on any of the other areas.

  • Kudos 1
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One of the first versions of IT assisted mobilising in London was initially a cock up.

A fire in Smith Street junction of Jones Street, and then a second call to Jones Street junction of Smith Street would often see 2 x separate (the A risk) attendances of 6 pumps and 2 aerials. It was a nightmare. I went to a small pile of tyres alight in North Kensington. A 1 pump reduced attendance was fine. But the open land had numerous roads surrounding it and we ended up with 14 pumps being mobilised, one from Hayes 15 miles away. 

I am an old fecker, but I am no Luddite. It think IT is amazing and has bought great benefits to society - look at the explosion in working from home during the pandemic. But do we rush to use it for the right reasons? There are many benefits and of course mobilising should be greatly improved

In the 1990s I worked part time for Fed Ex, the parcel courier. They were one of the first such companies to scan and track parcels. They could have 100s of thousands -maybe millions) of parcels across the world and they knew where they all were. Meanwhile a mate worked for the RAC. Their IT even back in the 80s was able to see where each van was, identify its status (en route, in attendance or available) and even 'see' the location of the caller on a map. Meanwhile we were using a card index drum and local knowledge.

It seems as if the UKFRS were slow to adopt IT and then when they did, they ignored existing systems like the RAC one and developed their own, indeed, each FRS seemingly doing their own thing!

So (at last) my point. I wonder if SFRS are relying on the MDT to drive efficiency by reducing the number of appliances, and by mobilising them smarter, make them work harder. The result of course can be a loss of space capacity, dangerous delays and reliance on over the border resources . Its a dodgy strategy

I do not rely on social media exclusively for my information as that can (and in this case is) biased. But there does seem to be a real and significant resource issue in SFRS - in relation to the lack of available fire cover. Can the Surrey people here say whether SFRS management have accepted there is an issue and are investigating or making steps to remedy it. Or like the LFB management when we had 14 pump rubbish fires, are they publicly ignoring it and dealing with it by media spin and pork pies?



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  • 4 weeks later...

Looking at the Making Surrey Safer (sic) Plan, they seem to use the term 'Day Crewing' to mean a daytime crew only and no cover at night. Whereas what most firefighters define as day crewing is called 'Variable Crewing" (daytime cover and on call out of hours).

Am I right?

And it looks like there won't be any 2 pump stations at night across the whole area!

I love the way they keep mentioning Brunel Universities study which allows them to make these changes. Some might think they are preparing a fall guy to kick if it all goes wrong like Boris & SAGE. Sadly its not the mathematicians at Brunel who have responsibility for fire cover, its SFRS


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Correct, the proposed (and now in place) day crewing was meant as just that. No on call element to it. The actual shift roster wasn't decided upon before I left but at its most basic would have just been four 12 hour days and four off. 

Epsoms 2nd pump was moved to Banstead to improve cover, it's now shut at night. So 2nd nearest pump is going to be Sutton or Purley from LFB if Reigate isn't busy or on standby elsewhere.

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