As we move towards Dec. 18th decision on our fire stations’ future, tough criticism of London fire brigade by Grenfell inquiry raises questions about quality of fire service leadership

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The report on the appalling Grenfell fire, while praising many firefighters and criticising the use of cladding which caused the fire to be so devastating, has included trenchant criticism of London’s fire chiefs, especially the Commissioner, Dany Cotton, who many survivors think should resign.

This report is a cruel reminder that fire service policies and leadership are of critical importance to public safety. As we await the publication of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service’s response to the recent consultation and the delayed meeting of the Fire and Rescue Authority on December 18th which will make the crucial decisions, Authority members should reflect on the danger that in the pursuit of financial savings by selling off fire stations, chief officers (who have repeatedly avoided public scrutiny by councillors) are unacceptably increasing the risk of serious fires and other incidents affecting many parts of Devon and Somerset – particularly around Colyton and Topsham in East Devon.

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