Needed transformation in fire service
Posted: May 30, 2013
Posted in: Personal Injury
A government-commissioned review states that fire and rescue services in England require urgent transformation. The Fire Brigades Union argues that further cuts are not the answer.
Former chief fire and rescue advisor Sir Ken Knight has ideas of mirroring Scotland’s system by creating single fire services for England. He states that having 46 separate authorities is just not “sensible”.
However, the Fire Brigades Union views this simply as an increased cut to the fire service, describing the report as “a fig leaf for slashing our fire and rescue service to bits“. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said that 1,200 firefighter jobs were cut in the last year, which resulted in “a poorer service for the public“.
Sir Ken opposes this by stating: “the service itself must adapt and change, not only to maintain that fire safety and prevention front, but to adapt its service.” By recognising the difference in cost between different areas, he believes that tens of millions could be saved each year. Through including new shift patterns, greater use of part-time firefighters and mergers, local authorities could invest this money more effectively.
The Fire Brigades Union continues to view these future plans as destructive – criticizing plans to decrease full-time firefighters, which leads to slower reaction times and therefore additional deaths.
The Scottish government suggests pooling resources into one, therefore protecting front-line staff and services – making effective savings. Ministers will now analyze the findings of this review, and its surrounding proposals, in a continual attempt to better public services.
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