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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Dalton fire crew fears

FIREFIGHTERS fear lives could be put at risk after a lack of crew members left them unable to come to the rescue after flash floods hit Furness.

Crews from across South Cumbria responded after a ferocious downpour left parts of Dalton under water last Thursday.

However, Dalton’s fire crew was not able to join them because there were not enough firefighters available.

Members of the town’s retained fire crew say this is just one example in recent times when they have not been able to respond after six staff resigned in the last 14 months.

“I have been asked by people whether we headed out pumping water and when I told people the situation, they were absolutely disgusted. It’s embarrassing, we are all fed up with it,” one crew member told the Evening Mail.

It takes four staff to crew Dalton’s fire engine. However, of the seven full-time on-call firefighters employed at the station three were off sick and two were at their day jobs on Thursday.

The crew member, who asked not to be named, was worried a situation would arise when Dalton firefighters would be unable to attend a call-out and lives would be put at risk.

Another firefighter said the situation had become difficult due to the amount of people leaving.

The man said those working at the station had urged their managers – who are based in Barrow – to make recruiting new staff a priority.

Although there were two new recruits due to start in December, one person was due to leave, meaning there would be a net gain of only one, he said.

“Somebody somewhere should have shown a sense of urgency, but they haven’t,” he said.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said it was campaigning to recruit on-call firefighters in Dalton.

Managers had asked some staff to change the times when they were available in order to provide 24/7 coverage, the spokesman said.

He said: “This change has on occasion resulted in some personnel feeling that they no longer wish to remain as an
on-call firefighter.”

The spokesman said there were systems in place to make sure a crew was always available to cover emergencies, even if they had to come from another area.

Have your say

This is not just happening in Dalton , most retained stations in the county are undermanned and the pumps are not available, but the powers that be get away with it, one day someone will loose there live because of it, then and only then will something be done about it, its about time someone on the council starting asking questions about manning on stations and ask for some facts and figures on just how many times stations are off call due to manning levels, the rural retained stations are the backbone of the fire service in cumbria !

Posted by ex retained on 27 November 2012 at 19:27

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