13 August 2018
The number of people killed or injured in fires in Staffordshire increased by 16 per cent last year, prompting warnings from the Fire Brigades Union that cuts to services are ‘damaging public safety’, reports the Stoke Sentinel.
Seven people were killed and 189 injured by fires in the county in 2017/18, according to Home Office figures.
This was a rise compared to 2016/17, when five people were killed and 164 injured.
The FBU says Government cuts are affecting public safety and that the Grenfell Tower disaster, which claimed the lives of more than 70 people in London last year ‘should have been a wake up call’.
FBU national officer Dave Green said: “These dreadful new figures confirm firefighters’ worst fears. Austerity cuts are now damaging public safety.
“For years, politicians have slashed our service and excused their actions because long-term improvements were still being made. Now their figures show the public is at greater risk.
“The Grenfell Tower fire should have been a wake-up call. The Westminster government should have reacted by investing in the fire and rescue service, but instead they just keep on cutting. They can’t even keep a proper count of the numbers who died as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire.
“Firefighters have lost complete confidence in this Tory government. They are putting the public at risk, while wrecking a well-respected, professional public service.”
Tim Hyde, director of response at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Over the past 10 to 15 years we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number of people dying in house fires but in Staffordshire we are determined to reduce this number even further.
Worryingly though we have seen an increase in the number of people suffering injuries in fires.
“The figures show we still have much work to do to help people stay safe
in their homes and we remain committed to our prevention work to make Staffordshire the safest place to be.
Original sourceStoke Sentinel