Union call for more retained firefighters in Derbyshire

Derbyshire does not have enough retained - part-time - firefighters to cover the county, according to the the Fire Brigades Union

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed it had 310 retained fire fighters out of a target of 348.

But managers said there were more than enough firefighters to cover the county.

The union said the shortage meant it was taking 15 to 20 minutes to respond to some property fires in rural areas.

The fire service said there were more than enough firefighters to cover the county.

'National issue'

Gary Mitchell, from the Fire Brigades Union, said: "We believe there's a serious shortfall in retained firefighters in Derbyshire.

"We want a serious recruitment and retention campaign to ensure the numbers are up.

"The problem we find is part-time fire stations in rural areas aren't available during the day, so if there's a fire in these areas, we're having to draw pumps from towns and cities and leaving the towns short."

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Waldie said: "I want to reassure the people of Derby and Derbyshire that at no time are any lives being put at risk as we have more than enough firefighters and appliances to ensure that we have sufficient coverage.

"We do have difficulties in recruiting retained firefighters. This is, however, a national issue and not just a Derbyshire issue.

"People's lifestyles are changing and retained firefighters have to live or work in an area where they can respond to a call out within five minutes.

"More and more people work further away from where they live these days and therefore cannot meet those criteria."

He said the service was carrying out ongoing recruitment campaigns for retained firefighters throughout the year.

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