On 8th February The Fire Brigade union (FBU) reacted to the release of new figures on fires and fire related deaths by describing the rise in fires for the second year running and the rise in fatalities as ‘horrifying’.
The 2017-year end statistics have shown fire incidents to have increased in England by 9%. This comes after an already increased figure from 2015-2016.
The Fire Brigade Union also commented on the worrying number of fire fatalities, even with the terrible death toll of Grenfell taken out of the statistic. 346 people in England died in fires for the period, including 71 from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, compared with 253 the previous year.
This troubling increase has occurred against a backdrop of 30% cuts to the fire and rescue service back in 2010-2015. There is a further 15% cuts being implemented between 2016-2017 and 2019-2020, according to Local Government Settlement announcement earlier this week.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, said:
“All we hear from government when they attempt justification of butchering the fire and rescue service is that ‘fires are down’ – this is now clearly no longer a claim they can make. They wrote off last year’s rise in fires as a ‘blip’ – what will they put it down to this year?
“It isn’t complicated – the fire and rescue service is cut to the bone, and the result is more people dying in fires because crews can no longer respond promptly and in sufficient numbers to tackle fires professionally, quickly and effectively. How many more rises in these worrying figures before they join up the dots? How many more people are going to have to die?
“On the day of the publication of these figures, we again call for investment, not more cuts. We can’t make it any plainer.”
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