Saturday, September 29, 2012

Should WYFRS buy 1,333 special smoke alarms a year instead of a Assistant Chief Fire Officer (or even 2)?

Hayley from Morley brought to our attention an article in the Fire Training News September Edition. It is about smoke detectors.

A smoke detector has been developed that sends its owner a text when it goes off.It does this by using standard GSM technology for mobile phones. This means it needs its own SIM card. There are moves afoot to develop a smoke detector that uses Wi-Fi. In this way it could send an email. Useful and far less expensive if you have a Smart phone. Many people may want to wait until the price drops
– it’s currently about £90 + SIM card.

NOW after we had stopped laughing - the thought of geting a text whilst you are on holiday did raise a few chuckles - (YOUR HOUSES IS ON FIRE . LOL. Smoke detector XXX)   this technology has some implications for in particular people who are deaf or maybe even for families who have elderly parents as no doubt the SMS message or email could be sent to multiple addresses to warn of danger.

And as to the £90 ---(£89.99 actually) --- if  WYFRS can replace ACOs at £120k each we reckon 1,333 of these smoke alarms may represent better value for money. And as the price of ACO's will no doubt increase year on year and the price of these drop - even better! And you can replace smoke alarms without paying them a pension. 

So how do smoke alarms work...........

BUT H's email raised another eyebrow too.....

It raised concern in the FCCL office as if you read one of our previous posts the consultation documents and processes have recently been succeeded by information about floods in being given "star billing" .

We at FCCL would have thought with the professional media  staff they have at WYFRS they would have thought to have added a direct hyper-link to the consultation pages and not just to the homepage for WYFRS embedded  in the Fire Training News Magazine. Does this mean that WYFRS are trying not to advertise the consultation? 

Yes we think it does! 

and if you would like to read other editions of the fire training newsletter they are available here

Friday, September 28, 2012

It's not only doggys go WOOF!

It's not only doggys go WOOF!

We have heard rumours of a serious incident reported to us by concerned members of the public in Seacroft, East Leeds, (which hasnt been reported on the WYFRS incident site)  where pumps from Gipton & Stanks were mobilised yesterday to rush to the aid of a lady recently discharged from hospital. She was receiving oxygen therapy and lit a cigarette.........................

Unfortunately  the cyclinder was leaking so when the cigerette was lit the  oxygen ignited  WOOF!!!!!!  and we understand the woman has  unfortunately severe burns.

These are the sorts of incidents that no amount of smoke alarms  can prevent............(or risk based planning assumptions predict.)

Road Traffic Accident - Park Lane Roundhay

When we read of this RTC , the elderstatesman of the FCCL team  remarked,  " I wish I had a pint for every RTC there’s been there! "

Yet again appliances from Stanks & Moortown attended and freed a trapped person from a car. Two stations which are destined to close.

Being trapped in a car can be painful and very frightening then of  course there is the small matter of injuries and possibly death.

We expect the person extracated is extremely grateful for  the speedy assistance of WYFRS .

Appliances from two stations destined to close turned up ---- by 2020 the predicted response time in Roundhay will increase by a whopping 

One Minute Twelve Seconds.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rain, Rain Go Away ..........because

Rain, Rain Go Away ..........because

You are keeping the consultation information off the front page of the WYFRS - we agree flooding is an important issue - BUT - we expect the consultation to have top billing back very soon as the environment agency is no longer saying West Yorkshire is at high risk -  Environment Agency Site information  is available here  

And in case you need them the consultation documents WYFRS are HERE

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Its About Time ..........


Although we appreciate it is sometimes not appropriate to speed read documents or jump to hasty conclusions, sometimes it is necessary.
Below are a few cut and pastes from a document written by the Fire Brigades Union - called "Its About Time".   The full document is available Here - from the FBU reports pages  - we STRONGLY recommend you read the entire document. It's quite an eye opener.

In 2009, the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) published a report called Review of Fire and Rescue Service response times: Fire Research Series 1/2009.
The authors of the report used the Fire Service Emergency Cover toolkit (FSEC) to predict the effect of increased response times.

·        13 additional fatalities in dwelling and other building fires each year;
·        possibly 65 additional deaths in road traffic collisions (RTCs); and
·        an £85m increase in other buildings fire damage.

“Deaths offset”
The report expressed no remorse for 13 fire deaths caused by increased attendance times. It showed no suggestion of alarm that a deterioration of performance has left 13 people dead in 2006 (in England) who would not have died in 1996.

Instead, the report concluded that: “Annual dwelling fire fatalities fell by 142 between 1996 and 2006. This suggests that the impact of increased response times on dwelling fire deaths has been more than offset by other factors such as community fire safety, between 1996 and 2006.”

In other words, 13 people might have died in fires who might otherwise have been saved, but it’s as though it doesn’t matter because the primary focus of the fire service, community fire safety, saved 142 people. The net effect is that 129 fewer people die each year.

To the consternation of the FBU, the message sent out by this report is that there is no urgency attached to attending fires, even those where people need rescuing. As long as community fire safety is preventing fires from starting in 11 houses, so their “theory” goes, it doesn’t matter if someone dies when a fire starts in a twelfth house. Their death has been “offset”.

“80% already dead”

why it is now taking longer for fire services to respond to fires and other emergencies. On behalf of CLG, senior official Chris Wormald replied: “Around 80 per cent of fire deaths have already happened at the point at which the fire brigade is called. The actual effect of response times on the death rate is really comparatively small.”

 The postcode lottery
It is important to remember that the difference  between fire cover in cities and that in villages could be explained as the outcome of a reasonably practicable response to the overall risk in each location. However, a person living in a domestic dwelling in one part of the country has every right to expect their 999 call to be treated just as importantly as one from another person in similar accommodation elsewhere.

We could go on  - but it just goes to show we are right........ firecutscostlives.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back to Back - Basics


Tonight we will concentrate on one type of incident - fires in back to back houses.

On the 23rd September there was a back to back house fire in  West Bowling Bradford. Which at strangely enough were BOTH appliances from Odsal. Why strange ? Because the proposals currently under consultation seem to think just one will be sufficient in future years.

And to quote the plans

"The areas covered by Odsal fire station are classified as very high risk overall but the distribution of risk varies in each ward and ranges from very high to very low"  

What we have noticed in all of the documents in respect of the IRMP is that nowhere in them do they say anything about the types of properties in an area - it is all just varying degrees of risk.

Without a doubt back to back houses are very high risk indeed, they were 
BANNED in the early part of the 20th Century as they were considered a danger to life if they caught fire. East End Park and Harehills  in Inner East leeds have the highest concentrations of Back to Backs in Europe, which is a scary as soon the stations covering the area are going to be further away. And Gipton, Stanks, Moortown, Hunslet  and Garforth are all to close. And also they tend to be inhabited by poorer sections of the community which again significantly  increases the risk of fire.
You could have several smoke alarms in these types of houses but the bottom line is they only have one door - so if the fire is blocking your exit  you are basically  STUFFED. That is until of course a fire fighter comes along to rescue you. With increased  reponse times, less appliances and of course you would have to be blind (or very rich and naive maybe!) not to have noticed poverty is increasing at an alarming rate and you have many accidents waiting to happen.

It  is basic physics - heat rises as does smoke and 9/10  its the smoke that kills you way, way before the fire does.

And in a back to back house - the only way is up when the heat is on!

Will there be redundancies at the Top Table ?

On careful reading of the Executive Committee Meeting held on June 13th we have noticed the following paragraph. The full docs are available Here

Principle Command Team  - Succession Planning

The Committee considered a detailed report from the Chief Executive/ Chief Fire Officer setting out options for future succession planning and possible revisions of the principal officer uniformed service command structure which also affected the future structure of the management board. The Chief Executive / Chief Fire Officer expressed his preference for adoption of Option 1 (as detailed in the report) which would in due course potentially reduce the overall number of Principal Officers. It was noted that there would be a lengthy "trial period" which would enable a robust operating assessment to be made of the practical feasibility of the proposals which would also require approval from the full Authority in due course as such matters are "reserved matters".

SO IF YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MAKING  REDUCTIONS _ WHY HAVE YOU JUST APPOINTED TWO NEW ACO'S ?  One to start 1st  January  (David Walton of WMFRS) and Steve Rhodes of WYFRS to take up  post in  July  2013.

We would also like to add that as with all WYFRA documents - none of the actual reports referred to are in the public domain.  So we  can only guess that Option 1 - was to keep the fat cats fed and continue to reduce the people who actually do the hard and dirty work of fire and rescue.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Quick Quiz Before We Tell You About WYFRA Councillors

A  Quick Quiz Before We Tell You About WYFRA Councillors

We are having a go at online surveys prior to launching our own community survey about the proposed cuts  - please see below to complete a quick quiz about members allowances for sitting on the fire authority.

There are no prizes for the correct answers - which we will publish next Sunday 30th September.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Garforth & Stanks to the Rescue


TO THE RESCUE !!!!!!!!

Again on the 21st September we are getting a story thorough of a chinmey fire in ABERFORD where two stations destined to close attended.

Crews from GARFORTH & STANKS in East Leeds at  18:35 raced to the fire - which of course meant that GIPTON (yet another station to close)   was left minding the shop for the East Leeds Area.

Seems to us here at firecutscost lives that
Chief Fire Officer Pilling knows




(and we just have to pray that the councillors on the West Yorkshire Fire Authority DO  )

Friday, September 21, 2012

Man rescued from flat fire in Hunslet area

Friday 21st September

A flat fire occured in Hunslet today and a man was rescued by fire fighters who entered the building using using breathing apparatus. (6 sets of breathing apparatus and 2 hose reels to be precise) The entire property was engulfed by the fire.

Yet another member of the West Yorkshire Community that owes their life to West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.  Crews from HUNSLET and MORLEY attended....

Rather ironic as both of these stations are DUE TO BE AXED in the current round of proposals that are out for consultation .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chip Pan Fire Kills Bradford Man

Sadly yet again we have to report a death due to fire - we offer our condolences to the family of Mr Brear.

From the report you can read  here   it seems an overheated chip pan was to blame for the fire.

But it does go to prove a point - a smoke alarm only warns you of a fire, it doesnt get you safely out of a burning building.

Seems Assistant Chief Fire Officer  Craig McIntosh agrees and was quoted as saying

"If you hear a smoke detector and you can't rule out the risk of fire, ring 999. In this case, it could have made a difference between life and death.”  

The article from the Telegraph and Argus also reported another chip pan fire in Great Horton on the same day.


We are delighted to report that the  at least one labour councillor Karen Bruce has grasped the nettle as regards the closure  proposed for Rothwell fire Station.

We here at Firecutscostlives urge anybody in the Rothwell area to sign it at the link below.  
The petition is availble here here

We have also emailed Karen to forward to us any dates of public meetings that she and others will be holding in defence of this vital public service in their area. Remember Rothwell ward is looking at an increase in  call out times of  THREE MINUTES  - from 5:29 to a whopping 8:29. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ageing Fire Firefighters

Many of us here at firecutscosts lives are to say the least “getting on a bit”. According to a recent BBC news article it is considered that middle age starts at 55. View the article here
However, for  fire fighters 55 is the age that retirement arrives as it is considered the age that you are no longer fit for operational duties. Add in the potential stresses your body has endured such as lifting heavy equipment and also thermal stress from exposure to intense heat and you are much more prone to injury than Joe Average in the workplace.
Prior to acceptance for fire fighter training you are required to complete various fitness tests and pass appropriate health checks. They also check you have a head for heights and are good with ladders !!!!!
Fire fighting is often portrayed as a glamorous profession – how many times have we been told here at FCCL HQ that “everybody” loves fire fighters? Trust me we would be rich............ however we do appreciate the occasional “phwoar” factor and today at FCCL HQ several  of our female members have been ogling the new  West Yorkshire Fire Fighters Charity Calendar If you want a peek, click here   

But of course fire fighters do age (apart from Fireman Sam) and the toll on the body can be harsh and debilitating. It is fair to say that for all of us as we age that task performance in particular of physical activities decreases, and operational duties for fire fighters become more of a stress on an ageing body.
This is going to be an increasing problem for West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue – if last year’s Integrated Risk  Management Plans is  instigated  and a minimal number of  fire fighters are recruited over the coming years; this  combined with staff losses in this years plans which aim to reduce the workforce even more (and eventually by up to 40%) then the average age of fire fighters will shoot  up and potential issues of injury and workplace stress will no doubt increase.



But there is one area where WYFRS are recruiting – the TOP TABLE .   Before you read the advertisement below you need to be aware that the average “coal face” fire fighter annual salary is £28,000 a year.

WANTED : New Assistant Chief Fire Officer

Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Salary Details
£115712 to £121646 (plus lease car allowance)
Job Description
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated individual to be part of the Management Board and take responsibility for the newly created Service Support directorate.
Job Location
As the successful candidate will be conditioned to the Principal Officer continuous duty system he/she will be required to reside within West Yorkshire. The service offers a relocation allowance.
Contact Details
For an informal discussion about the role please contact Simon Pilling, Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, 01274 655701.

For the full job specification   
click here

What can we say ---- its disgraceful.

The next article will be on the Fire Authority Councillors –Who they are, who they represent and what they do!!! (or don't)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Sale of Fire Stations is Imminent --------- Sept 21st 2012 is D Day.

From reading between the lines of the papers to be presented to the Finance Committee of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority the above statement is sadly TRUE.
Below is an excerpt from the papers to be presented to the WYFRA finance committee to be held on the 21st September 2012. The full set of papers can be found HERE

The sale of these assets can take place as and when appropriate, dependant on
progress with land acquisition and the construction of new fire stations. There is
potential for prospective purchasers to negotiate an option to buy fire station sites at an agreed price prior to the fire station closing, with ownership transferring when the new fire station(s) are operational. 

Should a particular site attract favourable interest and a higher than anticipated
market price be offered for quicker occupation, this could influence the order in
which fire stations are closed and merged. Early marketing will give an indication of
interest and will assist in the planning process.
Now let’s  see.......... which Fire Station will be sold first? Which site might get a higher than market price for a quicker occupation?   
Firecutscostlives members will put their combined pension pots on ................



As it is in the perfect place for the adjacent supermarkets currently nonexistent and much coveted Petrol Station. 
However the papers also state that the buyer will be allowed to gain planning permission prior to completion of the sale. So basically nothing ventured nothing gained – the gain being a money spinning Petrol Station in your carpark that will make you much more attractive to affluent Otley shoppers. A long term financial gain for the private sector made at the expense of asset stripping our much loved and needed publicly owned fire & rescue service.

The citizens of Otley vociferously opposed the closing of the station in the round of cuts in December 2011........... and it wasn’t a few hundred objections lodged,  it ran into  thousands ......... now if those  people could now focus their considerable force on opposing any potential planning applications for the Fire Station site it would put a considerably sized spanner in business plans of WYFRA /WYFRS.

For information below we enclose the email addresses and contact details of the local authority councillors currently on the finance committee.................... Send them an email, ring them up, use a good old fashioned pen and paper if you prefer. But tell them LOUD and CLEAR you will oppose the closure and sale of this station and any others........ that the closure of any Fire Stations is fundamentally wrong.
LabourConservativeLiberal Democrat
Cllr J Dodds 
Bradford District
5 Southmere Drive
Great Horton
Tel 01274 576624
Cllr P Harrand
Leeds District
8 Overdale Avenue
LS17 8TE

Phone:  (0113) 268 9844
To email Peter click here  
Cllr C Burke
Kirklees District
23 Birchwood Close Lindley Huddersfield HD3 3GZ
Tel 01484 643953
To email Cahal click here
Cllr R Grahame
Leeds District
41 Swardale Green
West Yorkshire
LS14 5HJ

Phone:  0113 260 7697
Email Ron - click here

Cllr L Holmes
Kirklees District
Crown Court Buildings
Princess Street Huddersfield
Tel 01274 921517
To email Lisa click here

Cllr P Wardhaugh
Calderdale District
Hob Cottage
Hollin Lane
Sowerby Bridge
Telephone: 01422 839683
To email Peter click here
Cllr A Hussain (Vice chair)
Leeds District
66 Easterley Road

Bus. phone:  0113 247 6927
To email Arif Click here  
Cllr A Taylor
Wakefield District
C/O Town Hall
Wood Street

Phone:  01924 270729
To email angela click here
Cllr B Selby
Leeds District
4 Primley Park Road
LS17 7HS

Phone:  (0113) 269 5102
To email Brian click here

Cllr B Smith (Chair)
Calderdale District
144 Cousin Lane

Telephone: 01422 247714
To email Bryan Click here

Cllr G Thornton
Bradford District
43 Leyburn Grove
BD18 3NR
Tel 01274 770869
To email Gill click here

Our next post will be about the potential time bomb of an ageing workforce in Fire & Rescue............using this very simple calculation below.

No Recruitment of Operational Fire Fighters since 2009   +   Ageing staff  
                        Disaster in the Pipeline        
Oh but hang on,,,,,,,,,,,,,, silly us,  there are exceptions to every rule around recruitment embargoes and  we will tell you all about that to on Monday.

And last and most definitely least, we have updated our funnies page   Click here  – so please try and leave the site today with a smile on your face.We don’t want this site to be doom and gloom  but informational and inspirational ,,,,, so have a chuckle but please don’t forget to email the finance committee councillors and tell them what you think. 
So, enjoy your weekend and to show we at firecutscostlives are not the dinosaurs WYFRS think we are,  we will sign off with  a  “laters baby! “ and see you all  Monday.

The Firecutscostlives Team

Friday, September 14, 2012

Funnies Page

In an effort to maintain our sense of humour we have added a "funnies" tab to this blog.  

Please click here ...and we hope it makes you smile. :-)

(normal serious service will be resumed shortly) 

Please scroll down for the serious stuff 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cuts to Fire Service Provision - 38 Degrees

Across the country Hundreds of Fire Fighters jobs are being cut, Appliances scrapped and Stations closed.
All due to the Government economic policies. If cuts are necessary then lets make sure its not to front line services, as David Cameron promised

Please click  here to add your name and support this request

Cllr Stewart Golton - Rothwell - Leeds

This evening at 4pm we are having a meeting with Cllr Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Leeds City Council. 

As councillor for Rothwell we are hoping that he supports our campaign. We will report back tomorrow on the meeting and what progress we have made.

If you wish to contact Stewart and voice your concerns about the closure of the station at Rothwell you will find his details below

Correspondence Address: 
5 Farrer Lane
LS26 8JP
Phone:  (0113) 288 0464
Fax:  (0113) 247 4586
Email:                    send email to Stewart by clicking here
Bus. phone:  (0113) 247 4580

Dont forget firecutscostlives can be contacted at 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Few Facts and Figures ..........

Obviously over the coming three months of community consultation it is going to be vital for members of the public and other interested parties to  have access to information regarding the proposed closures of fire stations in West Yorkshire. We are also aiming to provide information regarding other organisations and how they are fighting these proposed cuts in provision.

Below is a letter sent to all West Yorkshire Fire Authority Members by David Williams the Brigade Secretary (elect) of the Fire Brigades Union.

Fire Brigades Union
Fire service Head Quarters
Bradford Road
BD11 2DY
IRMP Proposals
3 September 2012
Dear Fire `Authority Member,
At the Fire Authority meeting to be held on Friday 7 September 2012, you will be asked by the Chief Fire Officer to support his IRMP proposals and that they should now go out for public consultation. These proposals, that in the CFO’s opinion, will best prepare the service to see them through to 2020 with the expected budget cuts that may come.
The Fire Brigades Union, the voice of the front line firefighters, who attend emergency incidents daily, do not agree with the view of the CFO and that his proposals would place the service in the best position up until 2020 if they are implemented. In fact, we feel that these proposals will not only put the members of the communities at a much greater risk of death or injury, but will also place firefighters, who will be responding to their emergencies, at a far greater risk as well.  
The local council tax payers already pay for the service they receive from WYFR by way of their council tax, so why should they be expected to pay the same, or in fact pay more should the precept be increased in future years, for a far worse service then they currently receive? These are the people who elect their councillors to represent their best interests and by not supporting these savage cuts to their fire & rescue service, you will be doing just that.
It is claimed that these proposals will increase the response times in 23 higher risk electoral wards, but what about the rest of the authority area that will receive a far worse level of service delivery? The proposals also fail to mention that this improvement in response to these 23 wards will be dependent on the fire appliances actually being in their new fire station buildings. You have to ask the question - what  is the chance of that being the case when, the fewer fire appliances that are left are now covering an area twice the size and answering fire calls that used to be shared between two fire stations. How on earth can that even try to be dressed up in any shape or form as an improvement of service delivery. The distance from one edge of a stations area to the opposite side has dramatically increased, so doesn’t need a genius to work out that response times will always be dependent on where the appliance actually is, whether it be carrying out community safety or returning from a previous incident.
We do not dispute that accidental fire deaths and injuries have decreased in recent years and that is greatly down to the community safety work that has been undertaken in recent years by the employees of WYFR, however, the community safety service provision has also been cut with reduced budgets, a point raised at the recent select committee hearing by ACO Redfearn, where he basically said that these proposed budget cuts would cost lives in the long term. What you need to realise is that with a reduction in community safety provision, be it by the community safety teams or by fewer operational firefighters being available to carry out this work, that it may result in an increase in primary and secondary fires and as such the Fire Authority may then find itself with an increased requirement in its intervention resources i.e. Fire stations, fire appliances and firefighters.
Recently, in news coverage of the latest proposed cuts it was stated that West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was one of the best and most highly regarded fire  & rescue services in the country, an honour that we should be truly proud of. But importantly, they went on to add, that should the proposed cuts go ahead this may not be the case in the future. A view that we reluctantly share, as we believe we would not have the resources or frontline firefighters to deal with emergency incidents as effectively as we do now.
Nationally the FBU have been campaigning to raise awareness of the number of firefighters killed whilst on duty following a massive increase in their numbers, thankfully none of these have been in West Yorkshire. However, if the proposed cuts go ahead, the Fire Brigades Union feel that with less fire appliances, less firefighters and longer to arrive at incidents then it is only a matter of time before a firefigher is seriously injured or killed in West Yorkshire. By taking longer to arrive at incidents, emergency incidents will deteriorate, fires will have time to intensify and should rescues be required then crews will be placed in the moral dilemma of whether to act to save a life, they will enter burning buildings when in reality to ensure their own safety they should not.
The Fire Brigades Union urge you to reject these proposals at the authority meeting on 7th September and jointly with us, we campaign together to get adequate funding for West Yorkshire and the fire service in general to stop these cuts being made to the emergency front line services and give the people of West Yorkshire the best fire and rescue service in the country.
Dave Williams
Brigade Secretary Elect
West Yorkshire FBU

If you wish to contact the Fire Brigades Union directly their website and details are available  here !

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Man dies in house fire in Chapeltown Leeds

Sadly we have to report that an elderly man died in a house fire in Chapeltown  Leeds earlier today. We offer our sincere condolences to his family.

But it does serve to demonstrate that FIRE KILLS and that it was crews from both Gipton and Moortown that turned out. As the new proposals currently on the table  are to close Moortown and Giptons fate has already been decided  (by our local politicians) we can't help but wonder what will happen in the coming years. 

the full report fromthe evening news can be found here Fire Kills in Leeds

If you wish to help us oppose these cuts in provision please contact us at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome to Fire Cuts Cost Lives

Welcome to the site Fire Cuts Cost Lives - here over the next three months we will be posting information how you can support your local fire fighters all over West Yorkshire.

We will be providing hard facts why the cuts proposed by Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling are wrong - and also information about why we are so very much against these proposed cuts in provision.