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.