Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

April 25, 2013 12:51 ET

The FBU Warns Public About West Midlands Fire Cuts

WEST MIDLANDS, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - April 25, 2013) - The Fire Brigades Union is warning that while fire station lights are still burning bright in the West Midlands, behind fire station doors the service to the public is being reduced.

The West Midlands fire service has today announced the latest in a series of cuts to the services it provides:

  • In Coventry, two traditional fire engines will be decommissioned and replaced by one smaller fire vehicle, carrying less equipment and fewer firefighters and will attend a more limited range of emergency incidents
  • In Coventry, 18 firefighter posts will be lost
  • In Birmingham, two traditional fire engines will be decommissioned and replaced with smaller fire vehicles
  • In Birmingham, 16 firefighter posts will be lost

Paul Cockburn, FBU brigade secretary said: "Fires and other emergency incidents can have a catastrophic effect on the communities we serve. The public rightly expect an efficient and effective fire and rescue service to be able to deal with a multitude of emergencies.

"The West Midlands fire service have committed themselves to keep the current 38 fire stations open. The public may be relieved to hear that and reassured when they see the lights still on. But they must be made aware that behind the fire station doors, the service they receive is changing: fewer traditional fire engines, more small fire units with limited capacity, fewer firefighters, less capacity to cope with large incidents and less resilience.

"Claims that fire services can fall back on each other and pool resources don't stand up when the cuts are widespread. The overall pool of frontline resources, stations, fire engines and firefighters throughout the country is being drained away and it will get worse year after year. Pre-election promises not to cut frontline services have proved worthless. You don't get much more frontline than a 999 response and we're being cut to pieces.

"It is clear to the FBU that there is less and less scope with each passing day to make further cuts to the service. Any future reductions to funding, when added to those already identified, will mean a drastically different service for the West Midlands' public."

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