THERE have been calls for the recent cuts to the local fire service to be reversed and any future cuts postponed, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year Enniskillen Fire Station saw its full time staff cut five to three, supported by a part time service. It was later confirmed this had resulted in an increase in response times.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has now written to the First and Deputy First Ministers calling for the cuts to be halted, and for the Executive to instead provide “sustainable levels of funding” and to invest in the service in future.
In its letter the union, which represents firefighters across the UK and has also written to the Prime Minister and the NI Fire and Rescue Service, outlined 14 new areas of work the fire service had taken on to help the community during the lockdown, which it said “may be needed in case of further waves or future outbreaks.” “Brigades have been gutted by a decade of austerity, but firefighters have nonetheless taken extraordinary steps to help the fight against coronavirus. They cannot be thanked with further cuts,” said Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary.
“There’s a host of foreseeable risks that could cause the next major national emergency – not least the risk of another coronavirus wave or another pandemic. When that emergency comes, there should be a properly funded fire service ready to respond.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition