Firefighters from across the UK have marched on London to lobby MPs and alert the public to the growing threat posed to the fire service by central government cuts.
The Fire Brigades Union is ratcheting up its campaign to raise public awareness that cuts "endanger [firefighters'] ability to protect lives and the communities we serve".
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: "The service is already cut down to the bone. The public has lost around 1,500 frontline firefighters since 2010 - and the government plans to cut another 6,000 by 2015. Fire stations and fire engines are under threat. We need to call a halt - and get people to speak up for the service that protects them. When you're fighting fires, every second counts."
The Parliamentary lobby is being held two days after the union took out adverts in national newspapers to raise public awareness of how further cuts threaten lives (see top left).
Wrack added that the government's refusal to face up to the damage cuts are already inflicting "reeks of complacency".
"The government is acting as if it has nothing to do with it. It's all down to the local fire service," he said. "But it's the government that's slashing budgets so fire authorities haven't got what they need to provide the service the public deserve. That means stations will close, fire engines will be axed and firefighters' jobs will go if planned cuts go ahead unchallenged."
This year's action comes almost exactly 10 years after the second-ever national firefighters strike and you can read David Wright's feature looking at the legacy and impact of those strikes at www.fire-magazine.com/national-fire-strike-ten-years-on.aspx.
Posted 08/11/2012 by firstname.lastname@example.org