Monday, January 14, 2013

We have broken something !

On Sunday evening FireCutsCostLives broke the  50,000 hits barrier. We are all chuffed to bits as when we started this blog it was our intention to get 1, 751. Seems the site is still as active as ever and we look forward to some excellent posts in the coming months.  

Many thanks to EVERYBODY  who has helped to make this blog a roaring success, with special thanks to David Williams and all at West Yorks FBU  and regional  FBU.  BossHooch and Joe O'Keefe,  without  all of their support, research, great writing and enthusiasm  FCCL would not have had the impact it has.  

There is another reason why we are smiling. As of today  David Williams, firefighter at Stanks became West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union  Brigade Secretary.   Dave has been a staunch ally of FCCL and did way  back in November (admittedly in a rush of enthusiasm) promise to learn how to blog; we do at some point intend to hold him to that; the occasional guest post at least! But for now want to wish him the very best of  "luck" - not that he will need it. 

David Williams - Brigade Secretary  West Yorks FBU 

The West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union Page is available  HERE 


Anonymous said...

Best wishes to Dave Williams on his new job. He is a very committed union representative who is willing to go to the wire for the best interests of his members and residents.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope he does because they will likely be a lot more balanced and informed comments than the majority of contributors to this website AK

dandybun said...

It would be really nice if the above contributor would identify him/herself.

Anonymous said...

Florian von lorch

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Congratulations to Dave Williams on his appointment, if only every member of the FBU had a fraction of his enthusiasm.

As stated by dandybun, it would be nice if the very articulate anonymous posted a "balanced and informed" comment themselves and put their name to it.

If however that person indeed is Florian von Lorch we will all be needing him in light of the approved Fire Service cuts:

Florian von Lorch was born around 250 A.D. and was martyred for his faith around 304 A.D. He lived around the town of Enns near the River Enns which is in present day Austria. He converted to Christianity when it was still a minority religion. It is said that as a youth, Florian was able to put out a fire in a house through the power of his prayers alone. It is also said that he saved an entire city from flames with only a single bucket of water. Because of these events Florian has been the patron saint of firemen and chimney sweeps since the twelfth century.

Unfortunately prayers and a bucket of water is what we will end up with.

Sarah Covell said...

Do we need to be balanced - we are FireCutsCostLives- not FireCutsMightCostLives. And we are telling the truth, we believe fire cuts will cost the life of a member of the public or a fire fighter.

Anonymous said...

Why do people with daft alias names keep demanding to know who everyone they do not agree with is ? The facts are simple and speak for themselves over the last decade nearly every fire brigade has shed scores and or hundreds of jobs about 4 or 500 gone in west yorkshire alone - this is public knowledge as is the plain simple truth that over the same period the number of fires and fire deaths went down and down - cuts is the rhetoric of old style socialist workers party activists but what we are really talking about is efficiency improvements and the truth is they work and that's a good thing not a bad thing. Why staff fire stations we do not need why continue with outmoded working practices why pay thousands more when thousands would apply to be firemen for far less pay why should the taxpayers roll over and be fleeced - public servants are there to serve and protect and they should be allowed to do so free from overbearing unions and political activists pretending to be something else

Sarah Covell said...

Better a daft name than anonymity surely.

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Well said by the anonymous Tory political activist

Anonymous said...

You didn't address the fact. During a reduction in staffing of around 25% over the past 10 years there have been massive reductions in fires, deaths and injuries due to the fantastic work of the Fire Service: in excess of 50% across all these figures. During this period stations have closed and pumps have been removed.
Your claim that 'Fire Cuts Costs Lives' do not hold water. Where is your proof?

Alan Beck said...

I do not like the sound of amateur firemen operating a second rate service , what do we pay council tax for ? i do agree with some of the other people that the fire brigade have got to look at closing old stations that are in the wrong place and modernising how firemen work because they spend less than 10 per cent of their time putting fires out so there must be some scope for cost saving

Mr S said...

Your right there Alan plenty of scope for saving money if you ask should be compulsory to have sprinklers and fire alarms and extinguishers and then we wouldn't need as many firefighters and then enforce the motoring laws and get lots of bad drivers off the roads and they don't need to rescue as many people in car crashes and why does the fire brigade not provide ambulance service like they do in New York - I am sure that could save lots and get there faster

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Let's deal with some of the above points:

Yes Alan you do pay your council tax for a professional, well trained, well equipped service. I am sure it is a service that you hope you will never need to use. As a council tax payer what do you want from the Fire Service? I would say most importantly a rapid response when you do need them.

Fire crews train every time they are on duty, maintaining their many skills. They visit homes seven days a week, giving fire safety advice and fitting smoke alarms. Every business premise, from the smallest shop to the largest factory has to be inspected to maintain fire safety in the workplace. All our schools receive fire safety and road safety education from operational fire fighters. All these duties have to be carried out as well as attending emergency calls. You get all of this for less than £1 per week.

It is of no use having such a fantastic fire service if they cannot get to your emergency on time, response times are the most important factor. These fire cuts have cut response times to life threatening levels.

Compulsory sprinklers, alarms and extinguishers?

Mr S would you have an elderly person, someone with restricted mobility or even a child deal with their own house fire using an extinguisher? I think not.

The Fire Service is not a business, don't try to run it like one. It is cheaper than breakdown cover and central heating insurance and all the other insurances we pay just in case.

Fire fighters are trained in first aid, they have life saving defibrillators on all front line appliances. However if I am gravely ill I would like a fully trained paramedic please, I want an ambulance (not a car) that will take me to hospital as quickly as possible.

Road safety: I am a driving instructor, I would love to see safe driving enforced as much as you Mr S, however massive cuts in Police numbers will not see that happening.

To anonymous, who thinks we should pay far less to fire fighters on the basis that "thousands" are queuing up to do it for less, how much would you pay a professional fire fighter, I would love to hear that. Currently a Fire Fighter gets paid £8k a year less than a Police Constable, how much less do you want to pay them. No doubt you think the minimum wage is too high? As for "outmoded working practices" let's see you name one.You complain of rhetoric when every word you print is outmoded, I'm alright Jack Tory rhetoric.

Mr S said...

How can you argue against combining fire and ambulance services as it works perfectly all over the world. I agree we need more police and more prisons.The more fire safety measures people adopt the safer they are and either fires won't happen or they can be put out quick and unless you are severely disabled anybody can operate a fire extinguisher whether 10 or 80 so don't diss older people

Anonymous said...

Considering its a less dangerous job than being on a building site or in the army and they don't work anywhere near as hard as the police and them on night shift can sleep alnight unless there is a fire call and most have a second job aand there is a massive waiting list I think about 18000 a year would be about right to start say 20000 with experience and then you would be able to keep all the fire stations open

Joe O'Keeffe said...

You don't measure danger by the number of accidents that occur.

Builders do not enter burning buildings with no visibility and temperatures approaching 1000 degrees.

Accidents occur on buiding sites as a direct result of ignoring health and safety procedures in many cases. That does not happen in the Fire Service due to a high level of training.

There is no such word as alnight, if you think there is I suggest you are a minimum wage candidate.

Sounds like maybe at sometime you tried to get a job as a Fire fighter and didn't succeed.

To Mr S, I certainly wasn't disrespecting anyone, but if "anyone" can operate an extinguisher I wonder why firms spend large sums of money sending employees on courses to learn how to use them?

Anonymous said...

You have made my point for me its not dangerous because of all the high safety standards which is why the accident rate is so low , spelling is a problem for me but at least I can add up better than you can because none of the figures you and miss covell spout ever add up and that's a fact

Sarah Covell said...

Well said Joe!

Sadly people talk of reducing risk as if it was a switch that could be turned on the instant a smoke alarm was installed and a resident educated in what to do in case of a fire which yes i agree is part of a qualified fire fighters role. But in less than four months the bedroom tax will be introduced, which will force people to move home, lose benefit and suffer as a detriment. Pension contributions increase soon too, child benefit eligibility has changed.

Real incomes are reducing, poverty is increasing and with the increase in poverty comes an increase in the risk of fire, especially house fires.

We say it time and time again, smoke alarms do without a shadow of a doubt help alert people to fires. But they wont stop somebody getting drunk or drugged up deciding to cook, they wont stop mothers desperate to dry kids clothes sticking them over a fireguard and you show me one smoke alarm evacuate somebody from a burning smoke filled building and anonymous or not you can happily have my pension pot.

Smoke alarms, contrary to what many people think dont prevent fire, they merely help you experience the event from the outside. ( And before you mock,sadly thats what many people think)

Joe O'Keeffe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chuffer said...

Well you voted for the liberal democrats so what do you expect really for somebody that's in cahoots with the Tories you seem a bit confused because you can't have it both ways

Sarah Covell said...

Yes i did. Do i regret it, No. I voted for the best of a bad bunch to try and do the best for my community.

Laurie said...

We have a top class fire service in West Yorkshire run by top class people at all levels and its about time this was recognised instead of all this carping and infighting. The government have decided to reduce public sector funding so blame them not the people who get up every morning to do their best to protect us

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Central Government are of course to blame for indiscriminate cuts across all our public services.

This site was set up to highlight the dangers of cuts to fire cover across the county. Some areas have been affected more than others.

At the Fire Authority meeting on 21/12/2012 the Deputy Chief stated that second pump attendances to incidents would only increase by an average of a few seconds.

That is a prime example of how the public and councillors have been mislead. Surely it is only appropriate to comment on the delay of second pumps in the areas subject to cutbacks?

By adding all the areas in West Yorkshire that haven't been cut into the equation, we can reduce life threatening delays of minutes to only an AVERAGE of a few seconds.

If that is what you regard as " doing their best to protect us" you are being somewhat naive.

Over the coming years a cuts to fire cover will mean slower response times, it will mean less fire fighters to visit houses providing fire safety education and smoke alarms.

There has to come a time when we say no to cuts, if not what is the bottom line?

West Yorkshire Fire Service has always been one of the best in the country, that cannot be maintained if we don't stand up for the services we pay for.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately Joe is one of the problems being on a massive pension relative to what he paid and we the taxpayer paid (over twice as much as every other public sector pension scheme)he has a vested interest in maintaining things as they are so that there is someone still contributing to the pyramid scheme propping it all up - far too much money going into fire service funding is simply paying for pensions - at least the government is finally getting to grips with that gravy train

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Once again factually incorrect, when you cannot win one logical debate you change to a completely new topic. Can I suggest as you are not interested in maintaining an effective Fire Service for all of us taxpayers that you put your energies into something that does interest you. Maybe you could privatise the NHS, disband the welfare state or bring back work houses. Your self centered views illustrate everything that is wrong in our failing society

Anonymous said...

No the problem is for over 30 years we the taxpayer have been robbed blind by pay rises for firefighters far in excess of the rest of the public sector pensions costing twice the rest of the public sector and all of this for workers who work half the year spend most of the night shift asleep ( why else do fire stations gave beds when factories don't) and have second jobs and all because of a union that threatens a strike every time the employers try to do something about it which puts the public at risk - you and your ilk have been rumbled Joe - I don't want to privatise the NHS I would like to divert some of the money wasted on propping up the indefensible waste on fire spending to the NHS which is what miss C should be doing as a union rep in the NHS

Sarah Covell said...

i am campaigning to save the NHS as well.......Dont forget we girls can multi task.

Joe O'Keeffe said...

So anonymous you believe in unions fighting for a decent NHS but not a decent Fire Service?

At least my position is consistent.

It is you who has been well and truly rumbled, it is plain to see that you support Tory race to the bottom politics.

What I want is simple, a fire engine, with professional fire fighters, quickly, if and when I should be unfortunate enough to need them.

I would like them to be paid a fair wage and I would like them to be young enough to be able for their dangerous and arduous job. When they are no longer young enough I would like them to receive the pension they signed up for when they joined the service.

Now if you have a problem with any of that, I'm sorry.

But I haven't been "rumbled", because I am clear about my position and that is why I put my name to my opinions.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time firemen went to fires on a cart pulled by a horse but times change now they have high tech equipment and the job is easier and less dangerous and firemen are much fitter which is why they can and should work longer before they get a pension - you are a Luddite Joe , miss c is just a socialist who woke up to the fact that socialism is a failed concept and is now lost in space why else vote liberal what did they ever do for Leeds

Sarah Covell said...

Thank you the above comment. You have just given me a brilliant idea for the next post.

Morris said...

I seem to remember the same old union arguments years ago that any reductions in the number of fire stations fire engines and firemen would result in Yorkshire burning down around us but as some have pointed out that didnt happen instead the fire brigade became more efficient if you measure the cost savings against the reduction in fires. Hospitals are closing down services the police are losing thousands of officers and local councils are making hundreds redundant so the fire brigade cant be exempt.However the question is how far can it go before its all too far. We need a general election so we can choose how to spend our money either on looking after ourselves or paying billions to foreign countries and the EEC - charity begins at home

jack said...

I agree we need an election to get rid of this bunch of carpetbaggers and lets not forget nobody had any idea we would end up where we are and didn't vote for it but I want to see our emergency services our hospitals our police our schools protected and we can do that without higher taxes on the working man we can do it by pulling out of Afghanistan faster by pulling out of Europe if we can't get a better deal by not giving money away to other countries by stopping benefits to so called foreign workers and asylum seekers by not giving money to rich pensioners just because they are pensioners by stopping benefits to rich families who don't need it and the workshy who don't deserve it by making big companies pay proper amounts of tax by cancelling devolution or cut their subsidies and by spending our money wisely. We are one of the richest countries in the world and we deserve better leadership than what we are getting now and we need a fair deal for England

Joe O'Keeffe said...

I agree Morris, how far can it go? If we roll over and accept cuts to services year in and year out we will end up with no services.

The reduction in Fire calls is a huge success and welcomed by every Fire fighter. The reduction in calls is down to the hard work of Fire fighters fitting alarms and giving advice.

But with reduced numbers there will be less time for prevention work and less fire fighters to carry it out,

Smoke alarm batteries will run out and there will be insufficient staff and funds to replace them.

Smoke alarms detect very small fires quickly, allowing householders to deal with them or escape. If the level of smoke alarm ownership is not maintained fire related deaths and injuries will increase.

Adam B said...

The fire brigade is like insurance and when it gets more expensive you don't want to pay but when you have to claim you realise its worth every penny so lets not cut it

Kilby said...

Its not about cuts its about cutting out waste to make it a better and more efficient service like all the public services need to do because there isn't actually money to spare - too many public services are run as if they are job creation schemes

Joe O'Keeffe said...

To Adam B,

Well said, that is exactly right, none of us want to claim on our insurance but we want it there just in case. Fires will ALWAYS occur, is anyone out there happy with a much slower response time?

A job creation scheme it certainly is not.

The service has been cut back for many years. When I started my career at Keighley there were 18 Fire fighters on a shift.

That reduced to 15 and then to 12 and then to 11.

This cut reduces it to 6.

So to those who think Fire fighters have been exempt from cuts in the past, you are misinformed.

These cuts are going too far, they will impact on public safety.

Not much use having the best of equipment and a nice new gold fire kit if you don't arrive in time.

Tombo said...

We need to employ people in this country and stop the big companies sending jobs abroad but thank goodness they can't do that with fire service jobs. I am worried though that if the job freeze in the fire service goes on too long they will all be too old to climb up ladders.perhaps there should be a cadet scheme like the old police cadets so skills can be passed on to younger people

Joe O'Keeffe said...

You are right Tombo, read the following:

The European court of justice holds that a maximum recruitment age of 30 imposed on applicants for the Frankfurt Fire service is justified under article 4[1] of the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive.
A case in October 2006 brought by an applicant to the Fire service [who was 29] was told he would be over the age limit of 30 for applicants by the time the next recruitment course would run. The German government successfully argued that a Fire-Fighters job makes high physical demands which can only be met by younger people – Firefighters past the age of 45-50 could no longer perform those physically demanding tasks. Consequently, the maximum recruitment age was intended to ensure employees can perform physically demanding tasks for a comparatively long period before moving on to other roles in the fire-service.
In this case the German government produced substantial expert evidence to support its case that natural physical decline would be a serious concern for those working in the Fire service.

There is to be no recruitment in West Yorkshire until 2020

Anonymous said...

Well that's a loaded question joe government fixed response times went out of the window years ago but when they did exist it meant faster times in cities and slower times in the country and it still does - is that fair ? Well not if your house fire is in the country but what does it tell us ? Well it tells us that a balance has to be struck between what is desirable and what is affordable and we can't any longer afford a fire station in every suburb no more than every village and what needs to be remembered is how much local taxes have gone up over the years so much so that people really struggle to pay the council tax and why has it gone up so much well because of too many jobs and wages which are too high and no thought given to saving costs - the fire service has achieved major reductions in the number of fires and lives lost but what it also needs to do is translate that into savings which it can do because obviously less fires means less demand for firefighters unless you are going to argue they should be sitting there all day or sleeping all night just in case

Noddy said...

We all know there are a lot of wasted resources in the public sector.How many firemen work in backroom jobs on full pay who haven't climbed up a ladder in years.The public would be shocked if they knew the truth about this , how few hours they really work etc etc

Anonymous said...

Worth their weight in gold at an incident

Joe O'Keeffe said...

To anonymous,

Not a loaded question, just needed a yes or a no.

Your town v country arguement; just more race to the bottom politics. Home Office attendance times "went out of the window" to facilitate these cuts.

If you are happy with a response time in a high risk area increasing from 5 minutes to over 8 minutes, you are welcome to that choice, however I personally am not happy with it.

Less fires = less demand for fire fighters?

Take any high risk area 10 years ago. Let's say that area had 5 fires per year. Those fires got 2 fire engines in 5 minutes. In slightly lower risk areas, the 1st fire engine in 5 mins and the 2nd one in 8 mins.

If that same area has only one fire per year now?

Your arguement is that we don't need as many fire fighters, that we don't have to respond into that area as quickly as we once did.

You are supporting a Fire Service that accepts collateral damage, you are putting a price on peoples lives.

The reduction in fire calls was achieved by employing a large number of civilian staff to fit smoke alarms. They have all now been made redundant.

Fire fighters have been fitting free smoke alarms for 15 years, this has contributed greatly to the reduction in calls.

We should celebrate this success, but we should remember that response times are all that really matter.

Fires will still occur, and a quick response is vital. The Fire Service is not a business and should not be run like one.

To "Noddy" how many "firemen" are in back room jobs not climbing ladders?

Noddy said...

Loads from firemen right up to fire chiefs - if the average fireman only spends 10 per cent of their time going to fires and fire chiefs according to what's said on this site only go to a fire once a year then they must be in the backroom rest of the time or have I missed something

Anonymous said...

Come on Joe does every beach have a lifeguard ? Noddo has a point in a way when you were a fireman out of the 42 hours you got paid to work how many did you actually work and I don't mean how many did you spend on duty but how many hours did you actually spend rescuing somebody and if its as little as the Audit commission said what did you do with the rest of the time - on a production line in a factory you have to work most of the time not 4 out of 40 hours

Anonymous said...

Are you real? Or just stupid.

Anonymous said...

Well unlike half the contributors to this website I don't spend 38 hours a week reading comics and I'm pretty good at adding up something Joe and Sarah c have problems with as is clear from every comment they make but I am tired now and going to bed - pity I am not on duty in a fire station with beds as I would get paid for sleeping too

Sarah Covell said...

Goodnight. Sleep well whilst somebody else does the dirty work of putting out fires and rescuing people from cars. its a skilled job that requires dedication, ongoing training, dedication and qualities you obviously do not have or understand.

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Again anonymous avoids the all important simple questions as he has no answers.

Below is an example of how good you are at adding up

Anonymous said...
"Funny that the Keighley news quotes those same officers saying it costs just over 200000 a year to run - where do you and miss c get your numbers from alice in wonderland ? Even on your figures you have inflated the bill by 40 per cent which just shows how careless you are with the truth when it suits"

Your figure £200,000, mine £350,000.

That would be an increase of 75% not your quoted 40%, So actually you are not "pretty good" at adding up.

So as you say it's a pity you are not on duty in a fire station, but that could never happen based on the maths and english you have demonstrated on this site alone.

To the other anonymous post, that would be a yes to both

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Poor Noddy, Toytown name, Toytown comments.

Join up with Mr Anonymous, and you can earn minimum wage in his Toytown Fire Brigade.

But beware Noddy, don't go near the Backroom.

Maybe Mr Anonymous is actually Clockwork mouse as he does get a little wound up?

Or could he be Mr Wobbly Man, the funny little man who cannot lie down?

Enid Blyton couldn't make you two up!

Anonymous said...

Now now Joe goggles you and sc said Haworth would cost a million over 2 years and I pointed out that it would only cost 400000 but even on your own figures of 350000 pa you had inflated the amount by 40 per cent ie 300000 us 40 per cent more than 700000 - are you following this Joe ? Good job you don't have to count in your new job or is it your old second job

Joe O'Keeffe said...

I actually didn't say at any point (check all the posts) how much Haworth costs. Sarah did say "best part of a million" for 2 years.

As you were answering my figure of £350,000 per year your percentages were wrong.

But if you insist on using figures I never mentioned ie the 1 million and £700,000, that is an increase of 42.85 per cent

Remember as I have said before, the less Haworth costs the better the arguement for keeping it open. So keep reminding people what a bargain it actually is.

So try and keep it accurate in future, and if you want a maths or english competition ,I suggest you go elsewhere.

Joe O'Keeffe said...

And if you are right, why would I need a new job if I have as you say a "massive" pension?

Come back to us when you have something constructive to say.

Anonymous said...

Well I have had a very constructive idea why don't you and all the other people who want to waste our money volunteer to pay extra on your council tax - if there as many of you as you claim then this would solve the financial crisis at a stroke let's say starting at 40per cent extra for all public sector workers with a second job or with a public sector pension still able and working in retirement now that would be a real solution which we could all be happy with

Anonymous said...

Good idea. I would happily pay for better emergency services. I dont use public leisure centres, public libraries, i reckon i am about quits.

Joe O'Keeffe said...

"If there as many of you as you claim"

anonymous, stop wasting your time spouting about matters you clearly don't understand.

Sign up for an adult numeracy and literacy course and improve your job prospects.

Who knows you may even make the Fire Service entrance criteria in time for recruitment in 2020. I can't see it though.

Anonymous said...

Well Joe displays his true colours typical of the loutish storm troopers we saw on the picket line if you can't win an argument just resort to threats and abuse

Joe O'Keeffe said...

I won the arguement with you long since.

Now I have played you at your own game, and beat you at that as well.

You can give it but you can't take it.

No threats, no abuse, just facts.

Anonymous said...

"... stop wasting your time spouting about matters you clearly don't understand.

Sign up for an adult numeracy and literacy course and improve your job prospects.

Who knows you may even make the Fire Service entrance criteria in time for recruitment in 2020. I can't see it though."

As soon as you started throwing personal insults and childish jibes you lost the arguement Joe.

Joe O'Keeffe said...

Presume you mean Goebbels?

I had absolutely nothing to do with starting this site.

I know lots about modern firefighting, unless it changed drastically in the past 10 months.

All facts, as is the fact that you are the one who attacked my counting skills, my pension, the financial worth of fire fighters, trade unions, branded fire fighters "comic readers" . You use names such as luddite, storm trooper, and Goebbels (even though you can't spell it)

And you do all this without a name or a profession.

Everyone reading this blog whether they are for or against the fire cuts can see you for what you are.

Everyone reading this blog who knows me, knows that my one and only is objective is to maintain decent fire cover.

So go and take your anonymous rantings somewhere else , you have nothing worthwhile to contribute to an intelligent debate.

runoff said...

Time you too stopped this tit for tat trivia its boring

chipper said...

Cuts gave gone too far not just fire brigade but police hospitals the lot not to mention pay freeze and benefits cuts too. we can't afford to keep on subsidising other countries and taking their cast offs we need a new approach

Anonymous said...

Oh dear joey seems somebody is editing out the contributions they don't like which is the worst sort of censorship can't win the argument exposed by the truth so why not just do what Stalinists the world over do and erase the opposition , carry on in your fantasy world but the game is up

sarah c said...

I confess Joe and I are stalinist control freaks working for the ministry of truth with a fixation for introducing cats on fire stations to improve the karma

Sarah Covell said...

what a brilliant idea! shame your IT skills arent as quiick as your humour. Apart from that it would be a network of bunny bloggers if i had my way!!!