UK News: Cuts to fire service in NI most severe in UK, say Fire Brigades Union - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK NewsCuts to fire service in NI most severe in UK, say Fire Brigades Union

13:45  04 september  2019
13:45  04 september  2019 Source:   newsletter.co.uk

Fire breaks out at historic engineering works in Glasgow

Fire breaks out at historic engineering works in Glasgow A large fire broke out in an abandoned engineering works in central Glasgow on Sunday evening. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd The blaze, which is believed to have been caused by tyres being set alight, took place at the former Howdens plant in Tradeston. The Victorian engineering complex, which stands next to Charles Rennie Mackinstosh’s famous Scotland Street school, has lain empty for more than 30 years. Firefighters were called out to the B-listed former works at around 8pm. A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: ”The location is a derelict building. “Tyres are on fire inside.

Budget cuts are slowly undermining the effectiveness of fire services in England and Wales, the head of the Fire Brigades Union ( FBU ) has said . Until last year the government published average times for brigades to get a first response vehicle to a house fire - the type of incident that claims most lives.

The Fire Brigades Union ( FBU ) is a trade union in the United Kingdom for wholetime Firefighters (including Officers up to Chief Fire Officer/Firemaster), Retained Duty System (RDS – part-time) and Emergency Control Room staff.

Cuts to fire service in NI most severe in UK, say Fire Brigades Union © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

The union are speaking out against “severe cuts” across the UK since 2010, but the “bigger reductions” in firefighter numbers in Northern Ireland has come in for particular criticism.

The union’s executive council member for Northern Ireland, Jim Quinn, highlighted a “10% reduction” in numbers since 2010 “due to lack of recruitment”.

He also repeated a warning he made in an interview with the News Letter, one year after the fire at Primark in Belfast city centre.

Mr Quinn warned that, should an incident on that scale happen again, the fire service may not be able to respond “as quickly”.

80 firefighters tackle 'large and complex' blaze at Scottish high school

80 firefighters tackle 'large and complex' blaze at Scottish high school More than 80 firefighters are tackling a large fire at a school in Dunfermline. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was called to Woodmill High School on Sunday afternoon, and 15 appliances have been sent to the scene. Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens said: "This is a very large and complex incident and our firefighters continue to work in difficult conditions to extinguish the flames. "The fire has taken hold within the main building of the school, however we are working around and within the building to limit fire spread and extinguish the flames.

Budget cuts are slowly undermining the effectiveness of fire services in England and Wales, the head of the Fire Brigades Union ( FBU ) has said . Until last year the government published average times for brigades to get a first response vehicle to a house fire - the type of incident that claims most lives.

The fire services in the United Kingdom operate under separate legislative and administrative arrangements in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBUU) say there are 82 fewer firefighters than last year, and 204 fewer firefighters than in 2010.

In a statement, the FBU said: “This year’s 4% reduction in firefighter numbers in Northern Ireland is the worst in the UK. England and Scotland have seen 1% and 3% increases in posts respectively, while Wales has had numbers reduced by 1%.

Nationally, nearly 11,500 have been cut since 2010. That’s means there are 19% fewer UK firefighters since the Tories took office.”

Jim Quinn, FBU executive council member for Northern Ireland, said: “These numbers lay it out clear – Northern Ireland has already sustained massive reductions to firefighter numbers. It beggars belief that huge cuts could be on the horizon.

“Wildfires in the Mournes this year brought the very real threat from climate change to the fore, while last year’s Primark fire demonstrated the vital need to mobilise quickly for a large-scale fire. With firefighter numbers dwindling, our ability to properly respond to these incidents is under threat.”

Boy, 14, charged over suspicious fire at school

Boy, 14, charged over suspicious fire at school A 14-year-old has been charged after a suspicious fire started at a Dunfermline school. © Sky News Screen Grab The school is located about 20 miles northwest of Edinburgh More than 80 firefighters have been tackling the fire at Woodmill High School, after being called out just after 5pm on Sunday. © Sky News Screen Grab Crews were still at the school on Monday morning The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said 15 appliances were sent to the scene and called it a "very large and complex incident". © Other More than 80 firefighters have been at the scene.

Graham Vaux, secretary of the Leicestershire Fire Brigades Union ( FBU ) talks about the effect funding cuts are having on the fire and rescue services and

The Fire Brigades ' Union ( FBU ) is opposed to the change and says it fears it could breach the European Union 's working time directive on rest periods. But the fire service said crews were looking forward to the shifts, and that they would have adequate breaks. There are calls for an extraordinary

He continued: “Why is it that Northern Ireland is seeing bigger reductions in firefighter numbers than the rest of the UK? Lives here matter no less than they do in England, Scotland or Wales. It’s a disgrace.”

An FBU spokesperson said the union is campaigning against £3.26M in fire cuts in Northern Ireland, following years of budget reductions from £81.6M in 2011/12 to £74.1M in 2019/20.

The spokesperson continued: “Fire cover in provincial towns has been slashed, while operational capabilities in Belfast could be significantly downgraded. Plans to plug crewing gaps with fire safety officers are impacting on vital fire safety inspections.

“NIFRS responded to 2% more incidents this year including non-fire incidents, while fires shot up by 8%[2]. Firefighters rescued nearly 1,700 people across the region last year, 12% more than the previous year.”

In a statement issued to the News Letter last week, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service’s interim chief fire and rescue officer Michael Graham said: “NIFRS completely rejects that any measures it is currently implementing does not allow the organisation to operate within safe staffing levels and totally refutes any suggestion that we do not put the safety of the public and our firefighters first. The interim measures recently introduced have been risk assessed and NIFRS will continue to provide a safe and effective service across all of Northern Ireland.”

“The introduction of these temporary measures will not only help us manage our budget in the short-term but they will help us assess any impact and inform any longer-term change. These changes have been brought about after detailed consideration and will allow NIFRS to continue to provide a safe and effective service. These changes are about using the resources available to us in the most efficient and effective way.”

Busy night for Cork firefighters over dangerous car and waste fires.
Busy night for Cork firefighters over dangerous car and waste fires

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