I think most people would agree that you simply can’t put a price on a life.

As the Essex fire service modernisation takes hold – or the cuts, depending on your standpoint – there is inevitable concern.

Full-time roles are going, along with engines. But millions of pounds are being saved... Cast iron assurances about safety simply can’t be made.

Yes, we can take comfort from statistics. After all they do tell a very positive story. 

House fire deaths are on the wane. They have been for a while now. 

And full credit to the fire service for this achievement.

Education and the drive to get fire alarms in each and every household is working.

But it’s almost as if the service has become the victim its own success and efficiency.

Few would question the invaluable work our firefighters do. Prepared, day in day out, to risk their own lives to save others, should the need arise. 

But the facts are nowadays this need doesn’t often arise.

Yet for every member of the taxpaying public the question is the same today as it was before the years of stats were compiled: “Will they be able to get to me quick enough and save me if I’m trapped in a house fire?”

This is the only question which really matters.

And it is a question that cannot be categorically answered.

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