Fire bank system criticised after Fishguard "explosion"
1:00pm Saturday 14th July 2012 in News
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s firefighter bank system has come in for criticism following the recent electrical “explosion” in Fishguard.
Fishguard’s fire appliance is stationed just metres from the incident, but it was not the first at the scene as there was not adequate crew to mobilise it.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) claims that the station was hampered in its response, taking 90 minutes before its appliance could mobilise, as one of its retained firefighters was working at a fire station near Swansea, as part of the bank system, the night before the incident.
This is a system which places personnel at other stations across the force area.
“Had the firefighter that had worked in Swansea been there to serve his local community, which is the whole point of retained duty system community based firefighters, then this situation would not have occurred,”
said Roger Curran, FBU mid and west Wales brigade secretary.
“What if it had been a property fire with people inside the building and appliances from Haverfordwest taking in excess of 20 minutes to arrive at the scene?
“The question for Pembrokeshire taxpayers is, as a unitary authority that subscribes to mid and west Wales fire service, we pay for our firefighters to be on our doorstep rather than for them to be syphoned off to other areas just because the brigade have not recruited wholetime firefighters for around six years.”
But Steve Bryant, Pembrokeshire County Commander, said that Fishguard had not immediately mobilised, as one of the station’s retained firefighters had been called out of the area on a work (non fire service) emergency.
“This particular person came back into the area and then we were to mobilise,” he said. “We are very grateful to employers of retained personnel who let them respond from the work place.”
County Commander Bryant stressed that the Fishguard appliance was not immediately available because of an unforeseen work emergency, not because of the bank system and that this had not had an adverse effect on the way the incident was dealt with.
“For people who partake in the bank system, they have to ensure that it doesn’t adversely affect the normal working of their appliance,”
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