Union claims fire service cuts ‘putting lives at risk’

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THE Fire Brigades Union claims plans to close fire stations in South Yorkshire will put lives at risk.

It revealed today that nationally there are almost 70 stations at risk of closure and scores more facing downgrading if the Government presses ahead with spending cuts.

Mansfield Road and Darnall fire stations in Sheffield are to close and be replaced with a new station in Birley in a move to help bosses save cash.

Members of the public were consulted over the plans and objections were raised, but the FBU claims the fire service nationally is being downgraded ‘behind the scenes’, without proper public debate.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “People need to realise this government is putting public safety at risk.

“People rely on having a fire station near where they live, so that, in the event of any emergency, professionally trained and well-equipped firefighters will come to their aid.

“The cuts have now gone so far that dozens of local fire stations are threatened with closure – an unprecedented development.

“We cannot just stand back and watch this essential service be systematically dismembered by savage spending cuts.

“People need to understand that behind those big red doors, things are changing in their fire station.

“Even where the lights remain on, there could be fewer firefighters, fewer appliances and less fire cover than the public expect.

“Firefighters are very proud to deliver an exceptional level of service.

“But this government is cutting the service to the point where they are putting lives at risk.”