Monday 19 November 2018

Staff shortages hit fire service on Halloween

Concerns: Siptu organiser Brendan O’Brien says there are ongoing issues with staffing
Concerns: Siptu organiser Brendan O’Brien says there are ongoing issues with staffing

Conor McCrave

Emergency services came under pressure on Halloween night as staff shortages put a number of fire engines out of action.

Dublin Fire Brigade received more than 900 calls on Halloween, typically the busiest night of the year for the emergency crews around the country. Of the 904 emergency calls received, 368 were Dublin fire calls, with 365 of calls taken marked as 'ambulance calls'.

However, it has now emerged that a number of engines were out of action for a time on Halloween night as staff shortages put additional pressure on firefighters. Siptu organiser Brendan O'Brien said there have been ongoing issues with staffing levels in the capital, which is putting safety of staff and the public at risk.

"Frequently there is a shortage of firefighters in Dublin, so appliances are going out with insufficient firefighters," Mr O'Brien said.

"This obviously has implications for the response from services and the safety of the public.

The trade union, which is negotiating on behalf of firefighters and is currently engaging with the Workplace Relations Commission, said some of the busiest fire stations in the capital saw trucks left idle as hundreds of cars, bins and bonfires were set alight.

"Halloween is the busiest night of the year for Dublin Fire Brigade," Mr O'Brien said.

"But at around six o'clock, when things were getting busy, appliances weren't able to respond and were taken offline for a couple of hours because there wasn't enough crew to man them."

A member of Dublin Fire Brigade said that all calls received were managed despite the shortage of staff.

Staff shortages have been an ongoing issue and almost a dozen more staff were needed to man the truck which was unused for the entire night. "Two officers and 11 men were needed for it, which left it out for the whole night," a Dublin Fire Brigade spokesman said.

Irish Independent

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