LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2012) - The Fire Brigades Union is raising the alarm over unprecedented risks to public safety posed by deep and dangerous cuts to the fire service. The warning comes as firefighters prepare to join tens of thousands of people tomorrow on TUC marches for a Future That Works in London, Glasgow and Belfast.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, urged the public to join firefighters in defending stations threatened with closure and to speak up for investment in Britain's world class emergency fire service. He will be joining FBU colleagues on the London march.
"The public has already lost around 1,500 frontline firefighters since 2010, despite David Cameron's hollow eve-of-election promise that there would be no cuts to the firefighting frontline. If the Con Dem government's reckless austerity drive continues, we could see frontline firefighter jobs slashed by 20 per cent since Cameron made his empty meaningless pledge."
"People deserve to have their lives, homes and businesses protected. As firefighters, we have a duty to spell out to the public the risks of ever-deepening cuts. More cuts will mean slower response times to emergencies, putting lives, homes and businesses at greater risk. Response times are almost two minutes slower on average than a decade ago."
"If there is no local fire station, response times will be even longer. Delays cost lives. That's why people should make sure they join with firefighters to campaign to keep stations threatened with closure open."
Hundreds of FBU members are expected at the TUC marches and rallies to protest against the government's austerity policies, calling for an alternative economic strategy that puts jobs, growth and people first.
The campaign to secure a better future for the million young people currently without work will be at the forefront this weekend. Matt Wrack, who will be marching in London, said: "Recruitment in the fire and rescue service is at a virtual standstill. Many talented public-spirited young people are being denied a popular and worth-while career choice. Some of those young people now claiming job seekers allowance because they can't get work should be training up as firefighters instead of signing on. We need to invest in the future of the service - and that includes investing in the coming generation of firefighters."