Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

November 11, 2008 19:01 ET

150 Essex Firefighters Go to Westminster to Lobby Their MPs About the Sharp Rise in Firefighter Deaths Nationally and the Cost-Cutting Plans for the 999 Service in Essex

HARLOW, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 12, 2008) -

Media Release Embargo: 00.01 Wednesday 12th November 2008

Today, more than 150 off-duty retained and wholetime Firefighters, Fire Officers and Emergency Fire Control Staff will join a national lobby organized by the FBU calling upon MPs to act on a national report on firefighter deaths published this week. They will also take the opportunity to lobby their Essex MPs about the cost-cutting plans in the County's Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which they fear will detrimentally affect the safety of firefighters and the safety of the public in Essex.

Concerned at the mounting death toll, the Fire Brigades Union commissioned research from the Labour Research Department, to look at the numbers of firefighter deaths across the UK, why they are increasing, and what could be done about it.

Eight firefighters died on duty in 2007 alone, the worst year since 1985. There has been a sharp increase in firefighter deaths in the last five years, says a report out today from the Fire Brigades Union.

In the five years since 2003, at least 22 firefighters have died while on duty, significantly more than in the previous five years. And more firefighters are being killed while actually attending fires.

From February 1996 until October 2002 there were no recorded firefighter deaths at fires in the UK. However in the last five years (2003-2007), at least 13 firefighters have been killed at fires.

In one part of the report it says:

"The lack of central guidance and policy has led to a fragmented approach, giving rise to a 'postcode lottery' of community and firefighter safety. Some of this has been masked by the repackaging of statistics, as the recent FBU report, Tragedy, Loss, Hope, Help has demonstrated.

Although national standards remain for vital areas such as recruitment and for incident command, the FBU remains convinced that the loss of national standards of fire cover is to the detriment of communities and the safety of firefighters. Local IRMPs have had many flaws and weaknesses, including their failure to use robust and risk-based data to evidence proposals. In some cases, IRMPs have been used to force through local cuts, closing fire stations, removing appliances and cutting the number of firefighters."

Keith Flynn, Essex FBU Vice-chair:

"Our County is growing in terms of population and risks. The hazardous nature and type of emergencies to which modern-day firefighters respond is expanding and yet it seems the plan for Essex is to cut back on the number of us firefighters on the frontline and reduce the size, type and specialist rescue capability of the fire engines we crew. The Essex IRMP is seriously lacking in clear, evidence-based proposals and has more to do with saving money than maintaining our life-saving service. We shall be calling on our Essex MPs to both act upon the national recommendations in the report on firefighter deaths and to oppose frontline cuts to the 999-service in their own constituencies."

Contact Information

  • Fire Brigades Union
    07788 - 647088
    Fire Brigades Union
    07956 - 459111