Yesterday's serious fire in Sudbury, Suffolk highlighted something we all take for granted...
Dial 999, ask for the Fire Service and within minutes you'll have fire engines arriving from all directions.
Last night that worked just fine.
Suffolk crews assisted by those from Essex worked hard to contain the fire, rescue people and stopped the fire escalating to more properties.
But will this be the case when hard hitting budget cuts are forced upon our already hard-pressed fire and rescue services?
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is already the cheapest to run fire service in the UK when based on the population it serves. Yet very soon it will have to save another £1 million. That's £1 million from a service that has done all it can to save money without affecting frontline services. That's £1 million from a budget of just £22 million. And it's likely there'll be further cuts after that.
A public consultation has taken place to see what the people and businesses of Suffolk want from their fire service. I imagine the answer is a simple one. When they dial 999 and ask for 'Fire' they want a big red truck with them as soon as is humanly possible.
The cuts that are likely, mirrored in neighbouring Norfolk, could mean fewer fire engines, fewer fire stations and fewer firefighters.
There could be fewer wholetime firefighters and, because of station closures, fewer retained firefighters.
It's worth bearing in mind that Sudbury currently has two fire engines, both crewed entirely by retained firefighters like myself. All with normal day jobs that they leave when their alerters (pagers) go off.
There are rumours that Sudbury could lose one of its fire engines, meaning the next nearest pump having to come in from Long Melford, Clare or even further afield.
And having seen how quickly the fire spread at the Sudbury job, every second counts. Minutes can mean the difference between saving a building or not. Minutes can also mean the difference between saving a life or not... A sobering thought.
In recent years we've seen how badly the Ambulance Service has been ravaged. Waiting times soared and staff morale nose-dived. Like it or not, is this what's going to happen to the fire service?
Is it going to have to get worse before it can get better?
All of us who work within the fire service want to do the very best we can and dedicate large parts of our lives to serving our local communities. But it is getting harder. The strain on retained firefighters continues to grow. Suffolk relies heavily on its retained firefighters - the men and women that live in towns like Sudbury - the men and women who will do anything to protect their town and ensure the safety of their friends and neighbours.
This isn't a dig at Suffolk Fire and Rescue. They are between a rock and a hard place. They have to save money. It's not an easy job to decide where those savings will be made.
And when we witness the devastation that fire can bring we all, quite rightly, want the very best the Fire Service can offer...