Fire chiefs claim the constant search for ‘savings’ is piling on the pressure at fire stations in and around Watford.
On a normal day Watford Fire Station, has 2 full-time fire appliances available, but last month it had its crew numbers slashed in as there were not enough firefighters on duty to crew all of the fire engines in the county.
Union bosses have revealed that Watford Fire Station, which usually has two full-time fire appliances available, had its crew numbers slashed in half last month as there weren’t enough staff on duty to man all the county’s engines.
The fire station, which should be crewed by at least nine firefighters, also covers a high reach appliance, when it’s needed.
However, only one of those front line appliances were available on the weekend of September 15 and September 16 forcing crews to be sent all over the county to keep other appliances staffed.
In their Risk Management Plan, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service say that: “Watford Community Fire Station is a key station containing two pumps and the Aerial Ladder Platform crewed by personnel working the whole time duty system” and that:
“The removal of the second pump would result in an increased reliance on the whole time fire Station at Garston; the day crewed plus station at Rickmansworth and retained stations at Bushey & Kings Langley to provide fire cover in its absence.”
Daren Scotchford, Brigade Secretary for Hertfordshire Fire Brigades Union said: “Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been running very short of numbers for some time now and has been propped up by firefighters covering the shortfalls; working on their days off.”
“This was only ever a sticking plaster which relied largely on the goodwill of our members. The time has come for the county council and central government to fund HFRS properly. We are constantly told how valued we are by our elected leaders; the time for words is over; action is required; investment is required. The people of Hertfordshire deserve nothing less.”