Firefighters protest over safety

Firefighters will protest in Westminster today in an effort to secure greater safety guidance and protection.

On Monday, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) released figures showing that least 22 firefighters died on duty since 2003, including eight last year – the worst figure since 1985.

As a result, union leaders called for greater protection for those firefighters on active duty, with claims that firefighting has become a much more dangerous profession in recent years.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said that the causes of firefighter deaths could be changed, “if the government really wants to change them”.

“It will only be done by a government that values its firefighters. At the moment, according to the YouGov survey we released last month, more than eight out of ten firefighters do not believe that the government values them.

“And can you blame them, when their safety appears not to be a high government priority?” he added.

At present, the union claims there is a “policy vacuum” – a neglect of up-to-date central guidance on firefighter safety – and insufficient emergency response training.