NSW Fire Station closures put lives at risk say firefighters
Station closures put lives at risk say firefighters | Blacktown Sun.
A reduction in operating hours will affect some fire stations in Blacktown as the NSW government looks for ways to cut operating costs over the next four years.
NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union representative Trevor Ross said that would include Schofields station which is about 300 metres from the Quakers Hills nursing home where 11 residents died in a fire last November.
Riverstone was among some 24 stations in NSW which went temporarily offline on different days last week.
‘‘What this means is, if there are less than a four-man crew, then the station would be closed,’’ he said.
‘‘Firefighters from nearby stations will then have to respond to calls.
‘‘We are very concerned about firefighters and community safety as there will be some delay in answering calls.’’
Mr Ross said the Blacktown area had 13 fire stations and 250 firefighters.
‘‘Besides Blacktown, Mt Druitt and Dunheved all others will be affected,’’ he said.
Mr Ross said the Quakers Hill nursing home fire was recognised as one of the worst incidents of its kind as firefighters had to rescue some 100 elderly residents.
He said more residents would have died if the Schofields station was closed last year as its officers were among the first at the scene.
But Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said claims by the union that lives and property would be put at risk were untrue.
“Locations like Riverstone and Ingleburn, where stations are staffed by on-call crews, are easily covered by other full-time crews.
‘‘We have routinely taken these stations offline since 2008 without any impact on public safety.”