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Cuts to fire and rescue service 'endangering lives'

By wbchris  |  Posted: May 21, 2014

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Comments (7)

A CAMBORNE firefighter has slammed cuts which he said have left the service on its knees and lives in danger.

The firefighter, who asked not to be named, attended a blaze at North Country, near Redruth, on the afternoon of Saturday May 10.

The crew from Camborne consisted of eight firefighters, with local stations stating that any team attending a house fire should have nine personnel.

There were also only three firefighters at nearby Redruth available to assist, the crew having to rely on public assistance until their arrival before they eventually brought the fire under control.

He said: “There has been a shortfall of both call crews and retained firefighters for 12 months now. We have been struggling to get a second crew out and it’s putting lives in danger.”

When a crew is called out, either on-call personnel or firefighters from another station must cover unmanned stations, and staff are having to be drafted from increasingly farther afield to provide the cover.

As there were no crews from Redruth available to cover the Camborne station on the day, a team from Penzance had to travel up while the Camborne firefighters attended the North Country fire.

“The Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is relying too much on on-call firefighters, but they aren’t always close enough to the station to be able to assist,” he added.

“Responses are getting slower and slower and more lives are in danger as a result of the cuts.”

The firefighter was also concerned that there are only two specialist line rescue vehicles in the county.

He said: “These vehicles carry a variety of special equipment but with only two in a large county, it can take them a long time to arrive.”

Simon Mould, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer, admitted: “The service aims to mobilise appliances with a minimum of nine personnel to property fires but safe systems of work can be applied with eight, which many fire and rescue services apply as their standard crewing model.”

The service is currently appealing for community safety volunteers to work at stations.

They must be over the age of 18 and available for four to six hours per week for at least six months and will work with the local community educating them about fire and road safety.

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7 comments

  • kernow_1  |  May 26 2014, 12:14PM

    To M_Rowe , I can assure you that the wholetime firefighters that supplement these stations, as they do up and down this county do NOT 'take the money and run' infact, they have been the only reason a retained pump is able to turn out. So, without that 'useless' firefighter, you, or the rest of the general public would never have seen the retained pump arrive. Furthermore, the shift system that a wholetime firefighter works does not change meaning he or she is available throughout the same times week in, week out. That being said, staffing is in a poor state and to no discredit to any firefighter working either duty system. So it has to be said that senior management would need to be asked why recruitment or further supplementation of staff hasn't taken place.

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  • M_Rowe  |  May 22 2014, 3:39PM

    The partner of 1 of my work colleagues, is fireman in the area and states the fire brigade locally is in a state. He said that people are being forced out, unfairly treated by superiors, who wanted a smaller amount of firemen at the new station. Less firemen to cover 2 towns, that is a scary thought. He has also said that they have full time firemen living in Redruth and Camborne, who on their days off, agreed to respond for their local station. But he told me they are useless, you never see them or know what days off they have. He said they just take the money and run, but they are looked after, because they are full time staff. I have also been told that they have been so desperate to hire firemen for Hayle, that they have taken on 2 people who have just been found guilty in court, of offences including assault and Gbh. They sound like nice people.

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  • liner99  |  May 21 2014, 10:16PM

    Redruth and Camborne will suffer with the closer of both stations . A lot of retained guys have now left the service as they don't want to move to tolvaddon . I don't think the service expected so many to quit . But more will go before the new station is built . The pressure on the guys who remain on the stations is too much to take . Be worried if you live in these towns . It's all about money not saving lives

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  • break  |  May 21 2014, 10:03PM

    Seems the same for most things in Cornwall now, it'll take some major catastrophe to open peoples eyes, then those to blame will pin the blame on someone else.

  • Kim_atkinson  |  May 21 2014, 9:42PM

    I have been saying this for months, but nobody has picked up on my comments or concerns. Like other towns, Redruth is growing all the time, in the centre and the outskirts. Yet The fire service is struggling, so they decide to close the towns fire station. I know people in the town who have required the services of the fire brigade and have to wait over 20 mins for a fire engine. This is not on and it has to be rectified. Cutting services does not improve it, this has been proven. I believe the frontline firemen and women are pawns In a political game, being played by councillors and fire bosses, in a bid to make the new fire stations look more successful

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  • Sharks35  |  May 21 2014, 7:00PM

    There are a lot of serious issues that need addressing within CFRS. Morale is so low within the service. I don't like the fact this "firefighter" is knocking us on-call staff. Cornwall is mainly an on-call county and we have to do a hell of a lot of work as good-will and not get paid for it. There are large on-call stations, like the one i am stationed at, that are seriously under used.

    |   1
  • Sharks35  |  May 21 2014, 6:55PM

    There are a lot of serious issues that need addressing within CFRS. Morale is so low within the service. I don't like the fact this "firefighter" is knocking us on-call staff. Cornwall is mainly an on-call county and we have to do a hell of a lot of work as good-will and not get paid for it. There are large on-call stations, like the one I am stationed at, that are seriously under used.

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