21 January 2015
Responding to Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) Proposals for Change 2015-2020, firefighters in the county have said it is their ‘moral duty’ to fight the proposals to cut services.
Plans outlined in the document include cutting three fire engines, reducing the number of firefighters per fire engine, disbanding the resilience team and forcing firefighters to be on duty for 24 hours.
Graham Vaux, secretary of the FBU in Leicestershire, said: “We cannot allow these proposals to be accepted. It is our moral duty to fight for the safety of the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“The fire service’s document makes a number of unqualified sweeping statements and general assertions based upon a selective use of data. The FBU are keen to work with management to develop alternative proposals to save money that can be achieved safely. These current proposals are not safe for the public or firefighters.”
In a detailed response to the plans, the FBU in Leicestershire points out that:
• 72 operational frontline firefighters have been cut in the past 10 years
• The service plans to cut a further 104 firefighter posts over the next five years
• Response times have slowed by almost two minutes already
• The IRMPs suggested impact on response times for support (secondary) engines is inaccurate
• The number of rescues carried out in areas to lose fire engines has risen in the last five years
• No task/time analysis has been carried out by LFRS
• The public faces the prospect of a fire service ‘postcode lottery’
• Firefighter locally need to be properly resourced and funded
A report will be presented to members of the Combined Fire Authority on 11 February 2015 for their consideration.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.