Union claims cuts are leaving the fire service in crisis

Fires claimed five lives and led to more than nearly 140 casualties in Lincolnshire over the last year, new figures show.

And the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said that an increase in fire deaths across the country showed that services are in crisis.

The Fire Brigades Union says Government cuts are leaving the service in crisis. Photo: PA/Martin Rickett

The Fire Brigades Union says Government cuts are leaving the service in crisis. Photo: PA/Martin Rickett

New Home Office figures show that four people died at home and one in a vehicle, in incidents attended by the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service between July 2017 and June 2018.

Across England, there were 247 fatalities recorded over the 12 months.

The figures also show the work done by the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service in preventing fires.

In the 2017-18 financial year, it carried out 5,274 home fire safety checks, mostly for elderly and disabled residents.

It also carried out more than 7,356 hours’ worth of campaigns to alert people to the importance of fire safety.

The FBU said that years of cuts meant a downward trend in fire deaths had stalled in recent years, with one in five firefighter jobs lost since 2010.

Dave Green, the union’s national official, said: “The Government continues to bury its head in the sand with regard to its responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service.

“They have stripped it of central funding and then pushed the blame to local authorities.

“The reality is the service is in crisis.

“Firefighters don’t have time to give routine fire safety advice, to do safety inspections on premises and are having to cope with attending emergencies with fewer and fewer resources.

“This situation cannot continue and all responsible politicians need to address this as a matter of urgency.

“The tragedy is that a service that was once the best in the world is being dismantled before our eyes by this uncaring Government”.

There were also 138 fire-related casualties recorded in Lincolnshire over the last 12 months, most commonly occurring in homes.

Of all casualties, 10 were severe and a further 28 required hospital treatment for minor injuries.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government recognises the vital role firefighters continue to play in protecting communities.

“Over the past 10 years the total number of fire incidents in England has nearly halved – down 46 per cent – and work to prevent fires from starting in the first place has seen real success.”