From name and address provided but withheld:

The events of this summer have certainly highlighted the position of the Isle of Wight fire service.

It appears there is cross-party and senior management agreement there is a desperate shortage of retained firefighters across the Island, with availability issues occurring on a daily basis.

Surprising indeed then the service review recommends cutting eight frontline firefighter positions!

The Island's retained stations have been nearly 40 per cent understaffed for some years now, so little wonder they are failing to stay available.

There is a recruitment drive on now but does anyone know about it? Certainly no adverts in the County Press, no banners on the stations and no visits to the major employers to try and fill the gaping holes.

The service review, which was rejected on three separate occasions, has now been dusted off and is going to be presented again.

This review was based on historic data and aimed to match availability with times of peak demand but as even a child would realise, emergencies pay little heed to statistics.

Sadly, this was common practice across the country with the Fire Brigades Union the lone voice in opposition, rightly demanding all reviews should be based on 'risk'.

Since the tragic events at Grenfell, it has now been recognised by brigade chiefs that resources should be matched to risk not historic demand.

Unfortunately they cannot base the Island's review on risk as the Island's prisons, hospitals, schools, commercial premises hotels, etc have not been risk assessed for years.

The Hampshire senior officers, who are desperately trying to get this woefully poor and vague review through, have absolutely NO operational experience on the Island and of the many years’ service they have completed only the very first few were as frontline operational firefighters.

I suspect it is very easy to lose track of the true function of the fire service when you have been sitting behind a desk for 20 years.

Ironic indeed the very people tasked with saving the brigade money are they very people costing all the money — they are hardly going to sack themselves.

You can only really feel empathy for Cllr Tig Outlaw as he’s been handed a political hot potato.

He’s chosen to believe what he’s been told without question and instead of checking to see if there’s fingers crossed behind the backs of senior management, he’s taken their word for it they can carve even more chunks off the fire service without risk.

I, personally, would listen very carefully to frontline operational staff and a much more realistic picture will emerge.

If there was a fixed link to the Island then undoubtedly the service would change dramatically, but there isn’t and the Island's firefighters have to cope with whatever they are faced with until they are backed up by mainland brigades — as long as the ferries are running.

It is time now to put the review paper where it belongs — in the bin!