Bradford councillor corrected over capability of emergency unit to be used by fire service (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford councillor corrected over capability of emergency unit to be used by fire service
A firefighter union boss has said that an emergency response vehicle which will cover Bradford district under a planned shake-up of the fire service does not have the capability to deal with road crashes.
The planned cuts include replacing a fire engine based at Fairweather Green with a Fire Response Unit as part of a move to save West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service £8 million.
Bradford Councillor Valerie Binney , who is Bradford’s Conservative representative on the West Yorkshire Fire Authority, previously described the fire response units as “excellent” for smaller fires or road crashes and has called for fire chiefs to provide a similar unit for Keighley .
However, a spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) yesterday told the Telegraph & Argus that the fire response units had no capabilities for dealing with road accidents.
Dave Williams, FBU brigade secretary, said: “From an FBU point of view the fast response unit has not got road traffic rescue capabilities.
“Either Councillor Binney has been misinformed or something has been lost in translation.”
The service’s chief fire officer, Simon Pilling, announced the planned cuts at a meeting on Friday.
A new command unit for major incidents will take the place of the Odsal engine and a Fire Response Unit will be based at Fairweather Green under the plans, which have been put out for consultation.
Coun Binney, who spoke at Friday’s meeting, said: “I am sure that when I viewed this fire response vehicle, I asked the question of the chief fire officer, Simon Pilling, whether they had the capability to deal with road traffic collisions. If I was incorrect, the chief officer could have corrected me when I spoke at the meeting on Friday.
“At the meeting, I suggested that the one which would be based at Fairweather Green would not be enough and it was suggested that they put one at Keighley. My argument was that if the fire engine has to go out to Oxenhope , for example and there is an emergency in Keighley, the lack of cover would slow down response times.”
A fire service spokesman confirmed that Fire Response Units have never had the capability to deal with road accidents and said that it would not give the impression that they could be used in such situations.
She said the Fire Response Unit does carry a cutting tool for firefighters to cut into locked compounds and to cut open vehicle bonnets to get to engine fires.
However, she confirmed that it does not attend road crashes.
The spokesman said: “All authority members have been provided with information about the fire cover proposals.
“These are publicly available for consultation on the front page of our website westyorksfire.gov.uk and include details of the Fire Response Unit and its capabilities.
“It is unfortunate that Councillor Binney has wrongly assumed that the FRU is used for road traffic accidents and we have communicated this with her.”