FBU warns fire engines will soon be off the road due to shortage of firefighters


Fire engines could soon be off the road in Surrey because of acute crew shortages caused by cuts, the FBU has warned.

Surrey County Council has reneged on a promise to have five crew members on each appliance, saying it can afford only to have four – the minimum permitted.

Surrey FBU brigade secretary Richard Jones said: “If the crewing establishment in Surrey drops any further, appliances will have to come off the run altogether. It could happen anytime soon, putting people and property at risk along with fire fighters.

“We need to see investment in crew levels now. We need the recruitment freeze lifted and the numerous vacancies filled. But instead we have been told the freeze on recruitment will be in place for the foreseeable future. We are also experiencing cut-backs in safety critical training. We need investment now – not cuts. The people of Surrey are paying for properly crewed fire appliances through their council tax, but this is not being delivered.”

The FBU’s warning came as Surrey County Council’s cabinet gave the go ahead for a pilot scheme to link up with private search and rescue company Specialist Group International in the first deal of its kind in the UK.

Richard Jones said: “If the money can be found to fund this pilot scheme with the private sector, why can’t it be found to fund fully crewed fire appliances throughout the county?

“The investment in crewing levels is needed now. Is it ethical to use money collected from council tax to fund private companies when Surrey fire and rescue service does not have adequate funds to crew its fire engines properly?”

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