New Decision by Fire and Rescue Service Places Welsh Public in Danger
SWANSEA, WALES, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 6, 2012) - Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) is endangering the public by sending firefighters whose training is not always up to date or adequate to fight fires, according to the Fire Brigades Union, which has served the FRS with a Safety Critical Notice, the second in a six month period.
The FRS decision was triggered by the realisation that the lack of frontline firefighters means that up to 21 of the region's fire engines (approximately 30% of the fleet) are unavailable daily because there are not enough trained firefighters to run them.
It was therefore decided last week to use headquarters staff and business and community fire safety staff to cover the crewing deficiencies. Most of these staff do not have the competencies to ride the fire engines. It is up to 20 years since some of them were active on the front line. These departments have had to cancel fire safety inspections and community events as a consequence of losing staff to cover fire engines.
Mid and West Wales FBU brigade secretary Barrie Davies said:
"Techniques in firefighting change fast, and knowledge decays. If an operational firefighter does not go out and fight fires for six months, he or she is rightly expected to do a two week rehabilitation course before being sent out again. I have been through this process.
"Yet now, suddenly, the FRS proposes to send out people who have not been out on a fire engine for up to 20 years. However willing and able such people are, they are simply not safe, through no fault of their own.
"This situation is being exacerbated by the fact that part-time firefighters are being taken from their own communities to cover full-time deficiencies, a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
"I think the FRS panicked when it realised how bad the shortage of frontline firefighters actually was, and it is now putting both its firefighters and the public in danger by taking this course of action."
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