IMPACT urges support for rally opposing fire crew reductions

FireFightersPosterA4IMPACT and Siptu are calling on full-time and retained firefighters to attend a march and rally in Dublin on Tuesday 24th February to oppose attempts to unilaterally implement reductions in crewing levels. The unions have said that the measures could jeopardise the safety of both firefighters and the public.

Peter Nolan said “the rally was an opportunity to make a strong statement in opposition to reckless and dangerous decisions which could put the safety of our members and the public at risk.”

A directive from Government to local fire service management has sought crewing reductions Peter said “This is being done without providing the relevant risk assessments, despite repeated requests from the unions representing staff.”

Details of the rally are available HERE.

UK firefighter fatalities double

A new report on fire fighter fatalities in the UK shows that the number of deaths amongst fire fighters in the last decade is double what it was in the previous decade. Twelve fire fighters died in fires in the UK between 2004 and 2014.

The report,  Fire fighter fatalities at fires in the UK: 2004-2013 – Voices from the fire ground was produced by the University of Stirling. The report states that budget cuts to training, staffing, fire station equipment, and continued operational duties of much older fire fighters may also have serious impacts on fire fighter safety.

Professor Andrew Watterson, who compiled the report, said “whilst the risks of fire fighting are obvious, the scale of death and injury is unacceptable. Public and fire fighter safety has not been prioritised when it should have been”.

There have been over 5,000 jobs lost from the fire service in the UK since 2010, with 39 fire stations closed and substantially increased response times. The report recommends that departments should ensure that funding for fire safety is adequate, and that any measures taken do not weaken the implementation of regulations and guidance on fire safety.

IMPACT national secretary Peter Nolan believes that there’s an important lesson to be learned from the UK experience. “It’s all too easy to rationalise cuts to essential services during times of economic strife. However, this report shows that these kinds of cuts to vital services can and do put people’s lives at risk.

“Fire fighters have to deal with dangerous and demanding situations every day. It is crucial that adequate funding is made available to minimise risk for this role as much as is feasibly possible” he said.

The full report is available HERE.