The Fire Brigades Union has described the proposal to reduce the number of firefighters on an engine from five to four as ‘unthinkable’ – warning it will leave both firefighters and the public at greater risk.
South Yorkshire Fire Authority is due to to consider the cuts today and the FBU has urged members to find a way to fund safe levels of crewing in the county.
The FBU claims that nearly a third of South Yorkshire firefighter jobs have been lost since 2010, while central government funding for the service has been cut by £3.4 million since 2016/17, despite a 16 per cent increase in firefighter rescues from 2017 to 2018.
Neil Carbutt, the FBU’s brigade secretary in South Yorkshire, said: “The proposed cuts are absolutely unthinkable. Firefighters in South Yorkshire are already stretched to their limit. These proposals will leave fire engines short-staffed, damaging the ability of firefighters to keep the public safe.
“Central government has consistently underfunded our fire and rescue service. But the price for that cannot be the safety of our community. The fire authority must reject these proposals and lobby central government for more funding.”