Esher Fire Station was closed on Monday (October 15) due to a “lack of firefighters” to crew their appliances.

The local fire station was one of several across Surrey unable to cover shifts or forced to reduce coverage due to staff shortages in the past few months.

According to statistics provided by Esher Fire Station, the number of front line firefighters across Surrey dropped by 44 percent, from 650 in 2010 to around 350 in 2018.

Joe Weir, regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union said: "This has had an impact on Surrey Fire and Rescue Service's ability to offer both firefighters and residents of Surrey a safe, resilient fire service.

"All too often we see stations closed due to a lack of available firefighters, most recently Esher which was closed today on October 15, 2018."

Esher fire station took to social media on October 15 to warn residents of delayed response times caused by the closure.

A post published on “Esher Fire Station - unofficial” reads: “As of 0900, Esher will be closed, Surrey's Duty Manager has decided that Esher will be closed today due to a lack of firefighters.

“Please drive carefully in the wet weather conditions as there will be delayed response times. This also potentially means that Surrey may have no Animal Rescue Capabilities today.”

A Surrey County Council spokesman said: “We always respond as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We’re currently making a significant investment to our fire stations, equipment and vehicles and recently carried out a recruitment campaign.

“We use technology to monitor fire engines and other vehicles’ positions around the county to ensure our response times are as good as they can be and have long-standing arrangements in place with neighbouring fire services to support each other during peaks in demand.”

Surrey Fire and Rescue Services is expected to make savings of £4.075 million and £1.8 million in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, according to Surrey County Council's medium-term financial plan.

Mr Weir said: "The cuts will result in station closures and further firefighter reductions. Ultimately all this leads to unnecessary response time increases, reduced resilience and an increase in deaths and injury at incidents to residents and firefighters.

"Firefighters will be forced to either work outside agreed safe systems of work or leave residents of Surrey trapped in buildings whilst awaiting the appropriate number of firefighters to arrive at the incident.

"I would urge residents to contact their councillors or MPs to raise concern over these continued austerity measures which are impacting on their safety and that of their families and friends."