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Author Archives: Joe Karp-Savey

Firefighters across the UK could support the delivery of COVID-19 testing, including taking samples for antigen tests, in the latest agreement between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), fire chiefs and fire service National Employers. After appropriate training, firefighters will be able to carry out swab tests on other fire and rescue personnel, their families, and the wider public if necessary. The update to the national agreement will now allow firefighters to drive ambulances to non-emergency outpatient appointments and to transport those in need of urgent care. Firefighters can also begin training non-emergency service personnel to drive ambulances to aid the […]
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Fire and rescue personnel urgently need coronavirus testing, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned, as services lose up to 12% of their firefighters and control staff to self-isolation. Nearly 3,000 fire and rescue staff are in self-isolation and unable to work, representing 5.1% of the UK’s overall fire and rescue workforce. Just under 2,600 of them are operational firefighters and control staff, making up 5.3% of the total. Emergency fire control rooms, which have fewer staff, have been worst hit in some areas, with some control rooms losing 15.9% of their staff. The FBU has said that, without urgent […]
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Fire and rescue personnel will fit face masks for frontline NHS and clinical care staff and deliver medical supplies to hospitals and care facilities during the coronavirus outbreak after an agreement was made by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) with fire chiefs and national employers. Under the agreement [NOTE 1] specially-trained and experienced fire and rescue personnel will fit protective masks to frontline NHS and clinical care staff working with patients infected with COVID-19. Firefighters will now also be able to begin delivering much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies to overstretched NHS hospitals and care facilities. These […]
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Fire and rescue service personnel must receive priority testing and vaccination for coronavirus, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said after some brigades reported losing hundreds of staff to self-isolation. In a letter to ministers in Westminster and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the FBU has said that without testing, firefighters and control staff could be self-isolating unnecessarily, when they could be on hand to protect the public. The union also says that testing could help reduce the risk of frontline staff transmitting the infection to vulnerable members of the public. London Fire Brigade has at […]
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Interactions between firefighters and the public should temporarily be drastically scaled back to limit coronavirus contaminations, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said. Non-emergency work such as fire safety visits and inspections, school visits, and public meetings, should be temporarily suspended to reduce the exposure of firefighters to COVID-19 and to protect at-risk individuals from potential contamination from firefighters. A number of fire and rescue services have already taken measures to restrict interaction between firefighters and the public, despite little directive from central government. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “While the FBU fully supports public engagement and preventative work […]
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Responding to the 2020 UK government Budget, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has criticised the Chancellor for failing to recognise the role of firefighters in responding to flooding, for failing to provide building safety funding for buildings under 18m and for promising “pittance” to fund firefighters’ crucial fire safety work. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This budget once again fails to end a decade of pay restraint for firefighters and the chronic underfunding of the fire and rescue service. “The government has finally recognised that they did not provide sufficient funding to keep people safe after Grenfell and that […]
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Responding to the third tranche of inspections from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire and Rescue Services, Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary, said: On the national view “This tranche of reports are a complete indictment of the government’s dangerous complacency over the risk of fire, flooding, and other hazardous incidents. Austerity has ravaged our fire and rescue service, leaving residents in many areas at risk. In Gloucester, the inspectorate are clear that changes are needed ‘urgently’, but politicians and fire service management elsewhere must not rest on their laurels. “With no national standards and no national infrastructure coordinating […]
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A major fire at a Travelodge in Brentford, London, today saw more than 100 firefighters respond. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This fire is yet another sign of this government’s utter failure to get to grips with our fire safety crisis. Two years on from Grenfell, there has still been no comprehensive programme testing building materials. “The approach so far has been the agonisingly slow removal of one particular kind of cladding, but that barely scratches the surface. “The Tory manifesto made no new policy proposals to tackle the fire safety crisis – just more of the same indifferent […]
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