‘Appalling cuts have left residents at risk’: Lancashire has lost more than a quarter of its firefighters since 2010

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack

Lancashire has seen a big fall in the number of firefighters in the wake of Government funding cuts.

The county has lost more than a quarter of its firefighters since 2010, while crews are also taking longer to respond to emergencies.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) criticised the “appalling cuts” and said they are putting people at risk.

The number of full-time equivalent firefighters in Lancashire fell from 1,171 in 2010 to 861 last year, a drop of 26 per cent.

At the same time, crews took 43 seconds longer to respond to callouts in the 12 months to March 2018 than in the same period in 2010, a 10 per cent increase, bringing the total response time to eight minutes eight seconds.

The figures refer to the most serious fires.

Across England, the number of firefighters has fallen by more than 22 per cent since 2010, from 41,632 to 32,340, and there are now 45 fewer fire stations.

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The average time taken to respond to serious incidents increased by more than 30 seconds over the same period.

The Home Office said local factors could affect response times, and said there was no direct link between response times and outcomes.

But Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said there was a clear link between slower response times and government cuts. “Year on year we are seeing appalling cuts to the service and these figures are clear evidence that the cuts have gone too far,” he said.

Response times in Lancashire are quicker than the England average, which last year stood at 8 mins 45 secs.

The slowing responses in England have come despite the fact firefighters are attending fewer primary incidents, however.