In a FIRE magazine exclusive, Fire Brigades Union National Officer John McGhee responds to David Wright's report on fire controls.

Here are some extracts from that article, which can be read in full in the next issue of FIRE:

In his article "Fire Controls: dawn of a new error?" your correspondent, David Wright, raises a number of issues but lacks any analysis of these.

In referring to a view apparently stated at FIRE's Fire & Rescue Congress on fire controls that 'the current models of fire control management are not sustainable' he cites a southern fire control as likely to be merged with its larger neighbour.

With some knowledge of current proposals it seems he can only be talking about the Isle of Wight's proposal to merge, or rather contract out its control facility to Surrey.

Now as a Scotsman who always thought that the English were my neighbours, perhaps I was wrong and it has been France all along.

Learning the geography of England I was sure that the IOW's neighbours were in Hampshire, just across the Solent and not in Surrey. 

Campaign for Firefighter Safety 

Next is the so called 'ground swell movement towards bigger services' that Mr Wright informs us will be a better future and then goes on to remind us that the basic principles remain unchanged and that it is all about 'the fastest attendance of the right people with the right equipment and full knowledge of the building or structure."

Why then since 2003 and the great modernisation and the continued expansion of our communities do we have fewer fire appliances, less people, less equipment in almost every fire and rescue service in the UK and longer attendance times in all?
Increasing Attendance Times 

Attendance times are lengthened due to the fact that there are now fewer fire appliances to cover bigger risk areas, fewer fire control operators to handle calls and an attitude from chief officers and civil servants that attendance times do not matter.

Mr Wright should perhaps examine the IRMPs of any service in the UK and let me know when he finds one who has set a response standard which improves on the 1947 standards which were deemed too restrictive.

Firefighters dressing are not the problem; neither is the call handling process of which Mr Wright seems to have little knowledge.
Well let us hope that those who have bean wearing the same clothing since the outset of the ill-fated FireControl project, the FBU, will perhaps be listened to by a few more of our so called leaders.

Collaboration does not mean amalgamation or contracting out; it means working together to provide greater efficiency and protection of our communities.

Efficiency needs to consider all socio economic aspects to collaboration.


Perhaps Mr Wright will revisit the FBU work on control resilience and steady his opinion and knees before making an analytical contribution to a very serious discussion.



Posted on September 23 2011 at 1130. Comment by emailing: