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15 April 2016
Further cuts to frontline firefighters in North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service could result in further deaths, warns the Fire Brigades Union.
Figures from the BBC show that since 2010, frontline firefighters have reduced by 35, representing nearly 10% of the total force.
The budget for the fire services has been cut by £21.9m over the past five years with a further £15.2m due to be slashed by 2020.
Late last year, the fire service approved plans to reduce the number of full-time staff and engines, saving a further £1.5m a year.
Simon Wall, chair of North Yorkshire Fire Brigade Union, said: “Fire deaths went up significantly last year so, mixed with an ageing population, people will be left a lot more vulnerable to fires.
“In the future, there will be fewer fire fighters showing up to deal with emergencies and, as the ageing population increases, I am worried we are going to see further deaths.
“Response times are still increasing, we are losing staff and we are losing engines.
“We are now having to crew fire engines below what should be the lowest national level in order to continue providing a service to the public.”
Owen Hayward, Head of Risk Management, explained that the changes to staffing were necessary due to the number of incidents reducing significantly.
He said: “As part of the Fire Cover Review, we predict 37-45 posts will be lost in that time and there’s no plan to replace them.
“Fire fighters are trained to serve the public and save lives. So standing outside burning buildings is not something we can see ourselves doing.”
Original sourceHarrogate Advertiser