The New South Wales government is set to halve the amount of fire vehicles that respond to fire alarms as it looks to be selective with firefighting resources in a bid to save up to $2 million. The state government plan will see just one truck sent to automatic fire alarms instead of two mainly due to the amount of false alarms that have occurred in the last few years.
However both nursing homes and hospitals will continued to be serviced by two firefighting vehicles as they are deemed as high risk areas.
However Fire Brigade Employees Union secretary Leighton Drury was less than impressed with the news “firefighters are not backroom, we are a front-line emergency service and the bottom line is isn’t dollars, its saving lives”.
“The current system, where both the quickest and closest firefighters are dispatched remains the best way to save lives.
Mr Drury warns the government that firefighters face the risk of injury and even death if just one truck responds to an incident that it might not be able to handle by itself such as people trapped in a fire.
NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins has already penned a letter to Mr Drury and the Fire Brigade Employees Union telling them that the government plan or Risked Based Response Protocols will “improve response times and efficiency”.
The plan is set to save $2 million.
Mr Drury and the FBEU (Fire Brigade Employees Union) has written a letter back to Mr Mullins outlining the danger his plan would expose firefighters to as well as the extra distance that would need to be traveled in an emergency situation.
The plan also includes a motion to reduce the use of part-time crews and instead stick to permanent crew.
“Where a permanent crew and a retained crew are co-located, it is current practice to call both crews for all incidents” Mr Mullins said.
“In future, retained firefighters (part-time workers) will only be called when required. “This means that resources are mobilised and distributed correctly”.
Fire and Rescue NSW Deputy Gerry Byrne said it was consulting with the union about improving the emergency response times.