Changes to firefighters’ shifts could put people in danger, union claims

Changes to firefighters’ shifts that have now been approved could increase the time it takes to get to an emergency and put people in danger, a union has claimed.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 3:13 pm

West Yorkshire Fire Authority has approved plans for Normanton, Castleford and South Kirkby fire stations that would mean the stations are not always staffed and firefighters could go home if they live in within five minutes.

But the Fire Brigades Union secretary for Yorkshire and the Humber, David Williams, said the extra time it would take to get to a call would mean fire would have more time to spread. He said this would be even more of a problem in the South East of the Wakefield district where residential areas are more spread out.

He said: “I can guarantee it won’t work at South Kirkby Fire Station – the agreed time of five minutes to respond will be shattered.

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“It could work at Castleford or Normanton but not at South Kirkby without making those people less safe.

“Of course the FBU will point out worst case scenarios but we’re not scaremongering. Fires develop very quickly.

“In a house fire even two or three minutes could mean the difference between life and death.”