After all of the furore about the lack of crews to man the ALP during the recent incident in Portsmouth The Fire Brigades Union have commented as follows:
Hampshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) wish to release a statement with regard to their concerns in relation to the crewing of Southsea Fire Station's Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) (copy below)
The FBU have continually raised concerns at the way Hampshire Fire and Rescue (HFRS) have chosen to crew this crucial vehicle, during the risk review public consultation period, right up to the present day.
Our concerns are that this safety critical piece of equipment is no longer immediately available for the risk it was designed to accommodate. At present HFRS nominate Southamptons ALP for any high rise fire in Portsmouth, equating to a significant delay before it can be utilised for effective intervention.
Consequently this delay changes any early weight of attack and subsequently the safety of Firefighters and members of the public in those early minutes of an incident.
The FBU is in no way politicising this topic, it's only aim is to maintain an appropriate and effective response that above all keeps firefighters and members of the public safe, whilst mitigating any avoidable risk to those mentioned.
Hampshire FBU to that end have proactively proposed workable alternative measures to ensure that the ALP at Southsea can, and would, turnout on the initial attendance to a high rise incident. It is with regret to state that this option was refused.
Hampshire FBU will continue to challenge this decision appropriately through any available avenue to ensure a safe outcome for all.
Yours in Unity
Hampshire Fire Brigades Union
Whilst planning to build 1000s of new homes in Hampshire alone this is the government’s response by cutting services left right and centre. Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service plans to cut 200 firefighters over the next three years and to reduce front line appliances from 76 to 25 – and yes you did read that right. The Government’s glib response to that is there are fewer fires now. This is true, but firefighter are increasingly attending unrelated incidents such as road traffic accidents when they often will be required to be first responders and act as para-medics. Never mind, keep burying your heads in the sand and keep building.
Fire minister Brandon Lewis said fire services had sufficient resources yet according to BBC's 5live Investigates, austerity cuts since 2010 have resulted in 3,382 fewer fire fighters, station closures and some appliances being taken off the road resulting in response times in some areas getting worse in 2016, which the FBU's Matt Wrack says is putting lives at risk.
Link to BBC article