Fire service hiring staff for strike cover
8:02am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
SOUTH Wales Fire and Rescue Service is asking the public to train to become auxiliary firefighters to fill in during industrial action.
The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has recently balloted its members regarding strike action against government changes to the firefighter pension scheme.
During periods of strike action, the service says, it still retains its duty to keep the communities of South Wales safe and is now seeking individuals who would be able to staff fire appliances and respond to incidents as required during periods of industrial action.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton explained that in South Wales more than 97% of staff are in the union.
He said: “This meant for us that the entire workforce would be on strike so we have started putting plans in place.”
If there is strike action then South Wales will be under military cover, which will operate six appliances, but this is a minimal service in comparison to the normal 64 appliances.
He said: “The support from the military is only temporary as soon they will have to go back to undertake their duties, so for the past four weeks we have been recruiting auxiliary firefighters.”
He explained that the firefighters will be trained in basic firefighting and rescue skills, such as dealing with a house fire and rescuing a trapped person or cutting a person free from a car following a crash. They are not trained in dealing with factory fires, hazardous materials, water rescue or line rescue.
Mr Hammerton said: “Currently we have trained 53 auxiliary firefighters but we need 100 people who can provide cover during strike action.
“We need people who have a reasonable level of fitness and are enthusiastic.”
Those who apply will need to undertake a medical assessment, which includes a medical questionnaire, measurement of pulse and blood pressure and screening tests for vision, lung function and urinalysis.
This is followed by a physical assessment, which includes an aerobic fitness test on a treadmill and a measure of upper body strength.
Those who pass will undertake a training course for two weeks at Cardiff Gate Training and Development Centre.
During the training programme, people will be taught the basic skills of a Firefighter including the use of hose, ladders, firefighting and casualty extrication.
If successful, an offer of temporary employment will be made to cover the period of the Industrial Action.
If you think you have what it takes to serve and protect the community call 01443 232201.
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