Emergency services would struggle with new atrocity, says FBU
FIRE and rescue services would struggle to respond effectively to another terrorist attack in London like that of July 7 2005 due to the effect of “sustained cuts,” the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warned on Friday.
Speaking on the 12th anniversary of the bombings, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack warned that devastating government cuts would lengthen response times to any future incident.
The union said four fire stations near the locations of the attacks in central London have shut, nine fire engines have been taken out of service and 1,000 firefighters have been made redundant in the capital since the 2005 Tube and bus bombings during which 52 people lost their lives.
It urged the reinstatement of “crucial life-saving resources” to ensure public safety.
Mr Wrack said: “It is very concerning to see how resources have been cut since 7/7 and how this could impact on a repeat attack now.
“More than 200 firefighters were deployed to rescue those caught up in these dreadful attacks, coming from fire stations closest to the attacks, four of which have since been shut down due to funding cuts.
“These closures, combined with huge job losses and nine fire engines being taken off the run, mean there can be no guarantees that the effective, timely response of fire crews back then would be repeated 12 years later.”
Earlier this week, the union branded a pay offer “inadequate” and “lacking detail and credibility” following seven years of pay restraint.
Mr Wrack said the proposed four-year deal failed to take into account the extra work undertaken by firefighters, including responding to new types of terror attacks and medical emergencies usually handled by paramedics.
FBU members are considering the offer and a national executive meeting will discuss the results later this month.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan paid tribute to the July 7 victims before a wreath-laying ceremony yesterday.
“As well as grieving for those we have lost, we also pay tribute to the heroic efforts of our emergency services and transport colleagues on that darkest of days,” he said.
“Firefighters, first responders, paramedics, police and public transport staff fought to save lives in the most horrific and harrowing of circumstances.”