The Fire Brigades Union has warned about the dangers of cuts to the fire service following a new report from the Home Office which reveals the amount of fire safety work has dropped over the last five years.
The home office’s ‘Fire Operational Statistics Bulletin’ showed that;
- The number of home fire risk checks and fire safety audits have dropped by a quarter in five years.
- Fire and rescue services are spending less time on public safety campaigns and initiatives.
- 10% (4,300) of staff have left the fire and rescue service in the past year.
- The average age of a firefighter has increased to 41 as the number of young firefighters is slashed by 40%.
The union has also warned of a ‘generational time bomb’ as the number of young firefighters aged between 16-24 has dropped by 40% in the past five years reflecting a lack of recruitment. The average age of a firefighter is now 41.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “We are deeply concerned about the impact of job cuts on the public’s fire and rescue service.
“The government’s data shows that fire services are now cutting back even further on fire prevention work because the workforce has been stripped. Fire services are struggling to cope with the current workload.
“The government have prioritised balancing the books over all else, including public safety. These figures paint a damning picture of today’s fire and rescue service, which is simply not safe in the hands of this government.
“Resources continue to be slashed, it’s taking longer to get to fires and more people are dying as a result.”
23 January 2017