The South Wales Fire & Rescue Authority are consulting on a proposal to either close the retained station at Porth or remove the retained engine from Pontypridd station.
This is our response to the consultation.
first-our-police-stations-then-our-hospitals-now-our-fire-service-life-under-labour-in-walesWe strongly oppose the proposals to either close Porth retained fire station or remove the second appliance from Pontypridd. We believe that either action would leave a densely populated and geographically challenging area of Rhondda Cynon Taff with a level of cover which would be unacceptable.
The Fire Authorities own report shows that RCT response times are already slower than elsewhere in the South Wales Authority area. This will still be the case when and if the Pontypridd station is moved to the new proposed base on Treforest Industrial Estate. We do not think that residents should have to accept this and certainly not the increased response times that would almost certainly occur in some cases if there was to be any drop in the level of service currently provided.
The second pump at Pontypridd may currently be the least used in RCT but the removal of that will undoubtedly increase the pressure on other stations. Pontypridd's first appliance is already the busiest in RCT so taking away the second appliance will inevitably lead to a reduced service for the Pontypridd area.
The traffic situation in and around Pontypridd town is appalling and inevitably contributes to delays for emergency services. The relocation of Pontypridd station to Treforest Industrial Estate will indeed make it easier for appliances to get to the main road quicker but will not help a great deal in negotiating the roads in and around Pontypridd and towards the Rhondda.
The report states that "Tonypandy's 1st appliance can respond into Porth almost as quickly as the RDS staff there can turn in." That is undoubtedly the case, but what happens when the Tonypandy appliance is already out on a call?
There is an unacceptably high level of deliberate grass fires in Rhondda Cynon Taff. As reported by wales Online in the first half of April there were 62 such fires in RCT, more than any other county and more than half the total across South Wales.
What happens when the depleted Pontypridd crew is out fighting such a fire, or the Tonypandy engine? Where is the back up?
The report states that "efficiencies" would be gained by proceeding with one of the two options proposed. We would argue that whilst there may be financial "efficiencies" i.e. cost savings to the Fire Authority then the potential damage caused in the wider community does not justify these savings.
The consultation report suggests that there would not be any significant increase in fatalities as a result of cut backs but fatalities alone are not the only consideration. The effects of fire, or indeed flooding or any of the emergencies that the service is called to deal with can be devastating to the people involved. The financial and emotional cost to them can be very significant.
The strapline on the South Wales Fire & Rescue Authority reads "Our vision is to make South Wales safer by reducing risk." We would have to argue strongly against any proposal that, in our view, is contrary to that.
Submitted on behalf of Rhondda Cynon Taff Welsh Liberal Democrats
Cllr Mike Powell
Karen Roberts - Chair RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats
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