Thursday, 4 December 2008

Lib Dems demand more funding for Fire Service

A former firemen who is now a councillor is drawing attention to the effects of funding cuts on Cleveland Fire Brigade.

Liberal Democrat Councillor John Hannon, who was elected to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council in October, will put a motion to a Council meeting next week demanding more funds from the Government for the fire service.

The Cleveland Fire Brigade received a very poor financial settlement from the Government earlier this year. The fire crews continue to provide an excellent service, but the financial pressure will continue to be a problem in the future.

Councillor Hannon commented:

"Just by chance I was in the vicinity when a serious fire broke out in Wykeham Close in Redcar on 25 November. At the time I arrived there were two fire appliances from Redcar. Smoke was billowing out of the roof, all windows and doors and into next door’s roof void. The other bystanders were saying there were people inside. I realised that two teams of firefighters had entered, one from the front and one from the rear with breathing apparatus and two hose reels.

“This only seemed to leave four firefighters outside, the officer in charge, breathing apparatus entry control officer, pump operator and the second pump operator driver. This situation since the reduced staffing levels concerns me and the general public very much, and has been discussed at local community meetings.

“The officer in charge obviously requested more help and a third appliance was sent from the neighbouring Grangetown station, with a journey time of about six to seven minutes. On their arrival two more firefighters entered the building as there was obviously still a lot of work to be done inside. If the manning levels were nine firefighters instead of eight this would take the pressure off the others. This additional person (hydrant man) would be dealing with the hydrants, first aid and communications, as well as forming part of a third breathing apparatus crew if required, before the third appliance arrived.

“The firefighters did a great job, as did staff from Coast & Country Housing and some of the neighbours.”

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