For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Warning of risk to lives as brigade looks at proposals to axe firefighters
3:00pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
UNION officials claim lives could be put at risk by jobs and service cuts being proposed by a North-East fire brigade.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, based at Washington, Sunderland, is cutting its budget by more than £5m in the face of Government funding reductions.
It is looking at proposals that include making more than 130 firefighters redundant, axing six fire engines and closing some fire stations.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has described the cuts as “devastating’’ and warned that the public and firefighters will face increased danger if they are implemented.
The loss of the 131 posts would amount to 20 per cent of the brigade’s total, the same percentage figure for the cut in the number of fire engines.
An aerial ladder platform, used for tackling fires in tall buildings, would also go and there would also be some cuts to crewing at night.
The proposals also include closure of Gosforth, Wallsend and Sunderland Central fire stations and the building of a new station covering Gosforth and Wallsend.
FBU brigade secretary Dave Turner said: “We have made it clear in all recent discussions with senior managers that we will oppose any further cuts to frontline services.
“These are the most devastating cuts in the service’s history and will mean firefighters and the public will be at far greater risk if these cuts go ahead.
“It also means that areas of Tyne and Wear will be left without cover for extended periods, again increasing the risk to both the public and firefighters alike.”
Tyne and Wear Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling said the proposed cuts formed a series of options that would be consulted on before a final decision was taken.
He said: “Removing six fire engines from our existing fleet of 30 will have an impact on our speed of response.
“Being fast to incidents helps us, helps the firefighters and helps the people that need us.
“What we are putting in place for the consultation today is a strategy that changes how we respond. We will become slower to lower- risk incidents.”
Comments are closed on this article.