Fire union chief in fresh fears over engine cull

Lancashire Fire Brigade Union Secretary, Steve Harman
Lancashire Fire Brigade Union Secretary, Steve Harman
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Lancashire’s fire union chief says there is “no doubt” Blackpool will lose one of its fire engines in future.

Steve Harman, secretary of the Lancashire branch of the Fire Brigades Union, believes Government cuts mean despite a successful Gazette campaign to save one of the engines threatened with the scrap last year, its future remains perilous.

It comes after the FBU urged Gazette readers to write to their MPs to help save another vital firefighting tool - the aerial ladder platform - at the station.

Mr Harman, who has sent The Gazette an open letter to the Government accusing it of undermining frontline firefighters, said: “The fire engine will go eventually, there’s no doubt about it, because the Government has plans to cut further.

“We’re going to lose this fire engine unless we can get the public aware of it.”

In his letter, Mr Harman added: “ When your house is on fire, or a member of your family is trapped in a car following a road traffic collision, then every second counts.

“If the Government continues to undermine the front line Fire Service in Lancashire, then you may well have to wait longer for a fire engine to arrive with fatal or life changing consequences.”

Mr Harman’s warning comes after a successful Gazette campaign last year saw one of the resort’s fire engines, which had been threatened with the scrap, saved from closure. The FBU is currently tackling a funding cut for crewing Blackpool fire station’s aerial ladder platform (ALP), which is often used to tackle major incidents.

The cut means firefighters from other Fylde coast stations will have to be drafted in to man the £400,000 equipment, one of the other engines will have to be sacrificed so the ALP can be taken out, or an alternative ALP will have to be driven over from Preston.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services will hold its next emergency cover review (ECR), which is used to determine how its resources will be managed, in three years time.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are still on with the present ECR.

“We don’t have anything outside of that process to consider at the moment.”

A spokesman for the Depart for Communities and Local Government said it has “no input” on which services individual fire authorities retain.