30/01/2015 - Report warns on cuts and fire safety

firewreathResearch by the University of Stirling into the deaths of 14 firefighters found that managers periodically ignored better safety practice over a 10-year period.

Both governments and managers have played petty blame games rather than act to save lives says the new report.

The report, which covers 2004-13, criticises the current system of “self-regulation” in brigades, saying a national model of best practice must be rolled out fast.

Professor Andrew Watterson, who compiled the report, made 
detailed recommendations for the improvement of risk assessments, accountability and structural failures. He also warned against the effects of budget cuts on safety:

“If public expenditure cuts prevent local authorities fulfilling these requirements, then local authorities and bodies such as the Local Government Association may need to challenge such cuts and ensure that their electorates and their employees are fully informed about the implications of the cuts to the public and fire safety,” he said.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack commented:

“This report demonstrates a need for investment, not cuts to the fire and rescue service,” he said.

“Budget cuts mean reductions in training, staffing, equipment and fire stations and continued operational duties of older firefighters."

“This will lead inevitably to further fatalities in the future.”