The patience of local firefighters is fast running out as they watch Hertfordshire’s Fire & Rescue Service going into meltdown in the face of continued cuts inflicted by politicians.
An emergency Fire Brigades Union (FBU) meeting has been called for later this week, where Herts firefighters will discuss the action they will take in a bid to save their fire and rescue service from total collapse, threatening their safety and the lives of the public.
As Hertfordshire County Council announce that they are to make further cuts to fire cover across the county, fire engines regularly stand idle as there are not enough firefighters to crew them. The recent serious fire at the Warner Brothers studio in Leavesden exhausted all fire service resources across the county, as firefighters were asked to work in arduous conditions for up to twelve hours without a break.
Hertfordshire FBU has blasted politicians for their reckless actions and total lack of compassion for the county’s firefighters and control room staff.
Firefighters are due to meet on Thursday 15 August to discuss what action they can take to stop the destruction of the service.
Hertfordshire FBU Chair Derek MacLeod said: ‘Throughout the 15 years of cuts we have experienced, firefighters have been saying that the day will come when the devastating effect of those cuts will be seen by all. Well, that day has come and gone and now Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service is clearly at crisis point.
‘If the public want a fire engine when they are in trouble, now is the time to step forward, support local firefighters and send a strong message to politicians that we will not stand by and just watch while they dismantle our vital public service.’
Herts FBU point to a raft of failings that have taken effect for more than a year:
- Fire engines and specialist vehicles regularly taken out of service due to lack of crew
- Herts Fire Control room experiencing IT faults on a daily basis
- Control room staff and firefighters asked to work hundreds of overtime hours
- Firefighters expected to work consecutive 24-hour shifts against work time regulations
- Growing numbers of firefighters being injured and hospitalised at an alarming rate
- Training instructors and trainee recruits being pressed into service to fill shortages
- Increasing resignations due to the chaos and pressure staff are asked to work under
- Loss of funding for vital training and equipment