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January 8, 2009

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More funding to help Fire Service tackle major incidents

The Government has pledged £19m to the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) to give it the necessary resources to rescue people from collapsed buildings and carry out mass public decontamination.

The funding is in addition to the Government’s £1billion investment programme to ensure that the FRS is equipped to deal with major incidents, such as terrorism, industrial accidents and extreme weather.

The additional funds will be used to cover the costs of providing the FRS with protective clothing, replacing oxygen and supplies used during training exercises, training search dog teams, and decontamination training for firefighters.

Fire minister, Sadiq Khan, said: ” It is vitally important that the FRS is able to practise for the unexpected event that we all hope will never happen. But, if it does, our firefighters are ready and trained to use the vital rescue equipment.”

The Fire Brigades Union has welcomed the additional investment but has warned that the FRS needs significant further investment to operate to the required standards. The union’s general secretary, Matt Wrack, told SHP: “We welcome any additional funding for the FRS. Fire-service investment more than repays itself by enhancing the ability of firefighters to protect their communities.

“But this small investment does not solve the fundamental problem that fire services across the UK are being financially squeezed. The Audit Commission is demanding more savage cuts in the frontline services needed for local, regional and national resilience.”

Related link:

Poor training jeopardises fire-fighters’ safety

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