Firefighters' urgent warning that "restrictive budgeting" is putting lives at risk has been met with a pledge from the new Home Affairs Minister to invest in the service.
Deputy Helen Miles said in a statement issued this morning that one of her "key priorities" is ensuring that "frontline services are appropriately funded so that they can operate effectively and efficiently".
Deputy Helen Miles also said that the results of a £15,000 Peer Review of the service conducted earlier this year will be published "before the end of October”.
Pictured: Deputy Helen Miles, the new Home Affairs Minister.
Her comments came after the Fire Service raised fears that it would not be staffed appropriately to deal with the type of high-rise tragedy experienced in Bristol last week, which killed one person and left several in hospital.
Tim Le Cocq, President of the Jersey Fire and Rescue Association (FRSA), said that the “inevitability” of a similar incident was drawing “ever nearer” due to more people living in flats – but the island’s service is currently under-equipped to deal with such an incident due to funding issues.
He told Express that such concerns had been raised many times by Fire Service staff to Government, but that no action had been taken yet.
Pictured: "We do not expect the real cost to be the lives of firefighters or the public we serve," Mr Le Cocq said this week.
According to Mr Le Cocq, the recent Peer Review contains conclusions which "validate our repeated concerns on capacity, capability and resilience."
The review was commissioned by Chief Fire Officer Paul Brown in January 2022, with desktop research undertaken in March, a three-day on-site visit in April and the final report presented to the previous Home Affairs Minister in May.
The results of the review, which was presented to Deputy Miles following her election in summer, are yet to be made public.
Pictured: The FRSA shared its concerns on Facebook.
Deputy Miles responded today: “Ensuring that Justice and Home Affairs frontline services are appropriately funded so that they can operate effectively and efficiently is one of my key priorities. Investing in the Fire and Rescue Service forms part of my plan to address the pressing issues referred to by the Association, including responding to the findings of the Peer Review commissioned by the Chief Fire Officer.
"The Chief Fire Officer and the Service Leadership Team are fully alive to the strategic and operational challenges raised and I and the Director General for Justice and Home Affairs recognise the importance of addressing these challenges and are fully committed to supporting the Chief Fire Officer and the Service to do so.
"This will be covered further with the publication of the forthcoming Government Programme, and the Peer Review will be published before the end of October."
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