Retained firefighters shortage warning
By James HoreRETAINED firefighters are pushing to recruit new volunteers to combat a shortage in personnel across the region. Essex fire service currently needs to fill up to 50 posts in the county to ensure a proper service is in place.
By James Hore
RETAINED firefighters are pushing to recruit new volunteers to combat a shortage in personnel across the region.
Essex fire service currently needs to fill up to 50 posts in the county to ensure a proper service is in place.
The Essex Retained Firefighters Union is pushing for new ways of recruiting volunteers for the 34 retained stations in the county.
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The call for more personnel comes as the Fire Brigades Union revealed there was a national shortage of about 3,000 retained personnel.
Rob Cameron, secretary of the Essex Retained Firefighters Union, added there were problems with the current system.
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The Halstead-based firefighter said: “There is currently a requirement for 12 personnel for one pump, but that is the case no matter how many call-outs they go to each year.
“The number of personnel has got to be in relation to the number of calls you are dealing with.
“Obviously there are some stations which need more than 12 people. Halstead is a two-pump station, but has 20 personnel in the town, so we are okay.”
Mr Cameron said the service needed to come up with rules on being retained firefighters that suited younger people, who would not always be available for call-outs at all times of the day, every day of the year.
“Recruiting has always been a problem and turnover of staff has always been a problem because conditions of service make it difficult for people to stay in for a good length of time,” he added.
“We urgently need a combined strategy for recruiting retained firefighters that includes a national advertising campaign and appropriate conditions of service.”