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October 21, 2008

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Poor training jeopardises fire-fighters’ safety

Insufficient or inadequate training is compromising fire-fighters’ safety, a survey by the Fire Brigades Union suggests.

The increase in the number of fire-fighters killed in recent years has led the FBU to express serious concerns about its members’ safety, and members are expected to lobby Parliament on 12 November over the matter.

The survey of nearly 2000 FBU members, which was carried out by YouGov, asked what were the four best ways of spending money on improving the Fire and Rescue Service. Almost nine out of ten respondents said more training, almost three-quarters said more front-line personnel, and six out of ten said modern and safe personal radios.

Just over two-thirds agreed with the statement: “insufficient or inadequate operational training is compromising the safety of fire-fighters at incidents”.

Government plans to close all 46 emergency fire control rooms in England and replace them with just eight regional control centres outside London were also firmly rejected by those questioned.

The union’s general secretary, Matt Wrack, commented: “This is the authentic voice of the men and women who save lives every day, and it is telling the Government not just to change course but to change its whole approach.

“They want resources to go into front-line personnel, training and equipment to do the job, which are being cut; not into extravagant and untried mammoth computer systems, and the army of consultants required to explain why they do not work properly.”

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