Fire callouts increase as the number of firefighters falls
The number of fire callouts in North Yorkshire rose to a five-year high last year, while the number of firefighters fell for the sixth year in a row
The Fire Brigades Union said it was deeply concerned by the significant rise in fires across England following “massive cuts” to fire and rescue services.
There were 586 full-time equivalent firefighters employed by North Yorkshire as of March 2019.
This was a drop of 6% compared to 2015, when there were 625.
At the same time, the number of incidents attended by the service increased by 377 compared to 2015 – a 5% increase, bringing the total number of incidents to 7,325.
The figures reflect the trend across England, where the number of incidents has risen to a five-year high.
There were more than 576,000 incidents across the country in the 12 months to March, an increase of more than 16%.
The number of firefighters meanwhile has fallen by 10% since 2015, from 35,925 to 32,233. The figures include all incidents attended by firefighters, including false alarms and non-fire related incidents such as road accidents.
Of the 7,325 calls attended by firefighters in North Yorkshire in 2018-19, 1,841 were non-fire incidents – 25% of the total.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “We are deeply concerned that, after massive cuts to fire safety officers and years of fire safety deregulation, there has been a significant increase in fires in England.
“We have warned of the impact of climate change on fire for the last decade, but the Government has failed to listen.
“Long, dry summers are making fires more likely, while firefighters are responding to a huge number of floods and other non-fire incidents across the country.
“Westminster has been utterly complacent about fire safety for years and it is clearly taking its toll.
“We urgently need to invest in fire and rescue services and to radically boost firefighter recruitment – people’s lives, homes, businesses, and communities are at stake.”