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According to the study, a number of factors, including budget cuts, a lack of hiring, the "On Call" service crisis, deteriorating training standards, and the climate emergency, have combined to create the ideal environment for a catastrophic "firestorm."
Since the SFRS's founding, just over ten years ago, it has eliminated over 1200 jobs, and fire service managers anticipate that another 780 may be eliminated soon as a result of the Scottish Government's five-year, flat-cash budget settlement.
Communities now have less emergency coverage after the withdrawal of ten fire appliances, several more high-reach vehicles, and the Clyde River Rescue Boat, which is permanently manned, from their stations this year alone.
This coincides with longer incident response times and a growing number of wildfires and floods that firefighters must battle as the climate emergency worsens.
John McKenzie, Scottish Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said, "This state of the nation report into the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service paints a damning picture of underinvestment, declining standards, and job losses, all of which increase the risk to firefighters and the public we serve. We cannot go on like this; our members and the public have had enough. If the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is to meet the challenges of our time, we need immediate and radical change, and this report sets out what that should look like. This report is full of ideas that would help reverse the catastrophic decline of a once-proud service. There are over 50 recommendations that have come from those who know the service best, the firefighters who work on the frontlines in fire stations and control rooms across the country.
They want to be the best that they can be; they want to be trained to the highest possible standards; they want to work in a service that has the required resources to respond quickly to emergencies and is equipped to meet the challenges of our times; they want to be paid appropriately for the stressful work they do; and they want to work in a welcoming, supportive organisation. Over the last decade, we have been failed by political leaders who have tried to ignore this crisis. They cannot ignore us now. It is now up to the Scottish Government, the SFRS management, and all political parties to respond positively to this report, reverse the cuts, and help build a Fire and Rescue Service that aspires to be world-leading."
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30 November 2023
05 September 2023