Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Cat - Another Story !

Our  ears pricked up this morning when another cat  in the WYFRS estate spilled the beans on what was happening on her patch. 

The picture she sent gave us a bit of a hint.

Leeds Station Cat

It seems that firefighters based at Leeds Station on Kirkstall Road are being paid
to paint the interior of the station

(whilst on duty!)

Obviously we hope this is being paid legitimately via the payroll  system, although we are not sure how?

Overtime maybe ? 

This raises many issues, including that of equality.
Do all fire fighters at all stations get the opportunity to tart up their stations ?
Was a proper procurement exercise undertaken?
Health and Safety also springs to mind, although FCCL arent too worried about their ability to use ladders. 


and its quite a


(yes i can imagine all the snide comments thank you very much) 


You know the run of the mill stuff like Home Fire Safety Checks, SCRI's,

The risk banding for Leeds in 2012 is VERY HIGH the projected risk band for 2013 is also  VERY HIGH. 
Is this because instead of doing their proper jobs, staff there are wielding paintbrush

 Leeds areas for performance improvement are

Road Traffic Collisions

Malicious False Alarms

Actual Rescues

As the same document  we obtained these figures from states that Leeds FS will be utilising  staff and resources from Moortown and Cookridge to enable them to achieve their targets, we don't understand  why qualified fire fighters are being allowed (and indeed paid ) to decorate a fire station!

We wonder if the councillors on the Fire Authority know and condone this practice?

For information the Leeds District Risk Reduction Plan is available HERE

Friday, January 25, 2013

Enjoy the Trip

Tomorrow the firefighters who are currently based at Gipton and    Stanks are going on a "works outing" to Normanton Fire Station to have  a look around and see what the proposed new station to be built at Killingbeck   may be like. 

Normanton Fire Station 

Station Commander at Gipton - Nigel Kirk told the Inner East Area Committee  way back in  September 2012 that the plans had already been submitted to Leeds City Council for the new station. 

On checking we discovered this was untrue. In fact to the best of our knowledge  these plans are not yet in the public domain. All we know is that it is to be a three appliance bay station (with two appliances). 

Normanton Plans  

It is interesting to note the ground floor community room has a separate  entrance lobby, kitchen and toilet
(with full disabled access we assume). Is this so that the local community can use the facilities? And indeed the planning application actually refers to the building as a "community fire station" 

However the papers of the Finance  Resources Committee of WYFRA held in  13th July 2012 it was specifically stated that non of the fire stations to be closed and sold as part of last years integrated risk management plan were NOT current classed as community assets as they were not used for social welfare or social interest purposes.  The papers are available to download HERE
We think this may be untrue!  
Isnt the  Gipton Young Fire fighters Scheme 
a Social Welfare Project

Extract from Normanton Fire Station Planning Application
 FCCL would like to thank the station cat from Gipton informing us of the trip tomorrow, and as she is a little shy of posting herself we would like to point out she has not been invited along nor is there any signs on the plans for Normanton of a cat flap ! 

We are hoping however that our increasing network of station cats may be able to give us a hint of how the trip went. Lets just hope the showers aren't communal, like the station opened  in the past few years at Bradford! 

Gipton Station Cat

And if you would like to see something of the lighter side of being a fire fighter we have updated our  page  HERE with something that made quite a few of us chuckle. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Humberside Fire and Rescue On Line Consultation



with our Humberside Neighbours 

Humberside Fire  & Rescue 

are currently engaging in an online consultation exercise in to gauge peoples willingness to have an increase in the precept charged for Fire and Rescue Services. 

From comments on these pages recently we feel that people are genuinely keen to to   participate in these public engagement exercises. 

So if you live or work 
or  have a business in Humberside 

please click on the link below which will take you to the online survey. 

For further information on Humberside Fire & Rescue Please click HERE

For contact details for Humberside Fire Brigades Union, click HERE

Or to contact the Humberside Brigade Secretary directly by email please click HERE

Or to contact the Humberside Brigade Chair by email please click  HERE

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why didn't our labour councillors have the guts ????

The Thought of Conservative Boris Johnson Fuming is Something we at FCCL All Relish. 

And yesterday in London, at a meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA)   Labour, Liberal and Green formed a coalition which  overturned  the proposal to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 firefighter posts in London  in a vote 9-8. 

But Boris its seems will carry on regardless and ignore the decision and continue with the proposals. 

Paul Embery FBU regional secretary said 

“We welcome the decision of the fire authority to reject these reckless and dangerous cuts. It was the right outcome. But Boris Johnson’s intervention is deplorable. It is arrogant in the extreme for the mayor to think he knows better than his own fire authority.
“The mayor’s unprecedented move raises all sorts of questions about democracy and accountability. He should listen to his fire authority; he should listen to the workforce, and he should listen to Londoners, the vast majority of whom oppose these cuts. If he pushes ahead, we will campaign vigorously to defend London’s fire service.

West Yorkshires own  David Williams who attended,  remarked when giving feedback on  lessons learnt in West Yorkshires fight against cuts 

"All i have to say is that these cuts were by a Labour fire authority - shame on them"

FCCL  who have close links with the London campaign sent a message of solidarity to them in  November as our  friends and family were fighting the closure of New Cross Fire Station , you can read what we wrote HERE

As the local campaigns are starting to coalesce and start to gain significant momentum we do not doubt that here in West Yorkshire the councillors who constitute the Fire and Rescue Authority will at some point be called to account for their actions and votes on the 21st December 2012.

We enclose some links to information about the London decision starting with the  Fire Brigades Union . The  London Fire Brigade , the BBC , and  Socialist Party

And whilst browsing sites to write this blog we found this from the London Fire Brigade -

22 January 2013

London Fire Brigade said today it was called out on Friday night after an over-heated massage pillow caused a fire in a flat in Hornsey.
It’s thought the owners left their home to go on holiday shortly before Christmas, accidentally leaving the pillow switched on.
A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said:
“It’s unusual for a massage pillow to cause a fire, but it goes to show just how important it is to switch off electrical items if you’re leaving your home, or even just going to bed.
“The fire caused significant damage to the flat and it’s fortunate that no one was hurt.”
The smoke alarm inside the flat wasn’t working and it’s thought the fire was only discovered when a concierge in the building saw smoke coming out of the flat.
Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters attended the fire. The Brigade was called at 2142 and the fire was under control by 2206. Fire investigators were called to establish how the fire started.

Fortunate - we think is a word that will be much used in the days and years to come. 

And one day  


will feature ........

"unfortunately a crew didn't reach the property in time to rescue the people trapped inside"

REMEMBER - Keighley is due to lose a pump by the end of this  month, Haworth Parish Council  is researching how to run a service with volunteers; volunteers who will not be qualified to use the breathing apparatus necessary to enter a smoke and flame filled building. 

Just in case you are concerned we at FCCL  have ensured all massage cushions we might (or might not) own are all unplugged.

For advice on how to stay safe the West Yorkshire Fire site has some good advice, click HERE to access the site. 

We did  however cringe when we read 
"Ensure your electric heaters are properly maintained and in full working order" 

yup great advice if you have the money to do that, but many people in deprived areas don't! 

We also need to tell you of a video that has been doing the rounds of facebook and was added to the Yorkshire Evening Post website yesterday. We have emailed   Hannah Stoneman of WYFRS and she has confirmed that the video is not of West Yorkshire Fire Fighters -  BUT it has been removed by Johnston Press from their website - however it is available on you tube so check out our funnies page HERE

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Howarth Fire Station

One of the "concessions" made by the West Yorkshire Fire Authority was to support Haworth Parish Councils expression of interest in maintaining the station as a community asset,
that is run by and for the local community. 

Below are  some minutes of the meeting sent to us by John Moak of the Fire Brigades Union.

Councilor John Huxley chaired the meeting(JH)

JH outlined the WYFRS IRMP  and indicated that meetings had taken place between the deputy chief fire officer and the council. 
Because of these meetings the closure of Haworth Fire Station had been deferred for a period of two years.
This was to enable the Parish Council to carry out a feasibility study and meet with key partners.
WYFRS had discussed the lease /sale of the building, loan of equipment and training.
The idea of an emergency response centre was mentioned and intention of contacting the Police,Calder valley mountain rescue and the ambulance service.
Both  Keighley and Oxenhope councils had been contacted..

JH indicated that if the villagers present agreed, a group was to be formed that would report back by 1-12-13 on whether or not the project was a feasible one.

Some of the questions the group would seek answers to would be-

Will there be enough volunteers of trained personnel,
The financial cost, we may all have to share.
The Haworth Fire station personnel to be consulted ASAP
Chris Hopkins MP, the Prime Minister and Eric Pickles MP all to be contacted.

 JH  This is our idea, if we don’t do something, the fire cover will be reduced..

 Councillor Angel ... The fire cover is in our hands
Councillor........... It will cost
Councilor Mitchell(Oakworth) Explained that some of his remote hamlets were also covered by Haworth and he pledged his full support.

Public.....Where is the funding going to come from ?

JH......... I see the funding coming from Chris Hopkins ,government, localism and the big society
We have to do something.
Public Insurance for the Fire fighters would have to be linked to WYFRS.
We are not allowed to have a fire service, that’s why we are going for a first responder service..
Private fire services will be looked at as will industrial fire services.

Councillor Hill We have a two year reprieve for the feasibility study, no one has done this before, and we have to explore the feasibility. If we explore the possibilities we will find out yes or no.

JH  Indicated that it would probably take a village referendum to make the final decision.

C.Hill    Lets get the options on the table

Public........ What were the other options

JH ..... We have to talk to Bradford council

Public( Our own Joe O'Keefe ) explained the reality of the situation, you will not be getting trained Breathing apparatus wearers to carry out rescues your volunteers will probably only be qualified to squirt water at the job.
The council should be applauded but please channel your efforts in to trying to save what you have got now
Public£350,000 the cost of Haworth Fire Station, how many residents do we have, we have to explore ways of raising extra revenue 

Councilor R Our police station closed but we got it back, if we can hang on to the building we may get something back..

Public .....outlined the skills of the job, and that it was right that you were concerned, please fight for your service and your pump.

JH Indicated that the time had come for the villagers to make their decision.
Are you prepared to let us form a group to explore the possibility and also the possibility of a referendum?

Public A unanimous vote of Yes,

Public reminded the group of the importance of keeping the infrastructure.

Kath indicated that the Haworth appliance had been busy of late

You should be applauded, a round of applause followed.


But what about the station cat at Howarth - will she be considered in the "fursability study" ?

Howarth Station Cat - homeless? 

If you would like more background information about Howarth please click HERE

Response time are available HERE

If you are interested in the "bigger picture" of fire cuts across the UK please read Save Our Fire Service - its not just West Yorkshire these cuts will affect - the site is available HERE

For more information about West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union, please click  HERE 

Monday, January 14, 2013

We have broken something !

On Sunday evening FireCutsCostLives broke the  50,000 hits barrier. We are all chuffed to bits as when we started this blog it was our intention to get 1, 751. Seems the site is still as active as ever and we look forward to some excellent posts in the coming months.  

Many thanks to EVERYBODY  who has helped to make this blog a roaring success, with special thanks to David Williams and all at West Yorks FBU  and regional  FBU.  BossHooch and Joe O'Keefe,  without  all of their support, research, great writing and enthusiasm  FCCL would not have had the impact it has.  

There is another reason why we are smiling. As of today  David Williams, firefighter at Stanks became West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union  Brigade Secretary.   Dave has been a staunch ally of FCCL and did way  back in November (admittedly in a rush of enthusiasm) promise to learn how to blog; we do at some point intend to hold him to that; the occasional guest post at least! But for now want to wish him the very best of  "luck" - not that he will need it. 

David Williams - Brigade Secretary  West Yorks FBU 

The West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union Page is available  HERE 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Smoke Alarms or a Dog ?

We have had an  “We Told You So” weekend here at FCCL.

It is with great sadness we have to report the death of an elderly lady in Beeston, South Leeds. Joyce Williams who was in her 80s was involved in a house fire in Westbourne Place. 

The incident which took place around midnight on Saturday brings yet again one simple fact to the fore. A smoke alarm is only of use if people hear and respond to it. And in this case as detailed in the Yorkshire Evening Post   HERE   the neighbours ignored the alarm (even though they smelt smoke)  only when their windows started to heat up did they go outside and realise there was a fire in the house next door. 

This is the second time since we started this blog that this has been the case.  In Bradford Mr Brears  died when an alarm was disregarded by neighbours. For more information on this incident please click HERE   

Sadly by the time the fire fighters arrived at the fire in Beeston, Leeds on Saturday night  (incidentally from Morley and Hunslet stations)  it is thought the fire in the back to back house had been alight for several hours. For more information on back to back houses please click HERE 

We are not in a position to comment on how those neighbours must be feeling at the moment, we can only imagine  but we would like to point out several hard facts:- 

Both Morley and Hunslet stations were to be closed if the fire authority,  had it not been challenged by FCCL, the FBU and many others.  

Response times would increase regardless of what the figures say – just ask a fire fighter at Morley or Hunslet (but for heaven sake be discreet as we have known  sadly of people being victimised and harassed for supporting our cause). We sadly will  have to blog about this victimisation shortly as it involves a member of the FCCL team. 

A fire with persons involved requires the attendance of three pumps -   which at present is  adequately covered by Morley and Hunslet............ BUT after the cuts are implemented........ Hunslet is to lose a pump and Morley is to be day crewed (which we have talked about HERE). So at night, Morley  firefighters will have to get to the fire station first, which will add at least 5 mins to a  response time, then cant leave without a qualified driver and crew manager – so if there is a delay, bad weather, accident – What happens then?  

Well, we know the answer – people will die!

However - there was a house fire over the weekend  that resulted in some good news. 

In the early hours of Sunday morning crews from Gipton and Stanks attended a house fire in  Ramshead Gardens, Seacroft. The incident feed from WYFRS read like this 

House fire, ground floor of house involved, crews have used 1 hose reel and 4 breathing apparatus, 2 male adults, 2 female adults and 1 female child all suffered smoke inhalation and were transported to hospital by ambulance

But we know that it was the families Staffordshire Bull Terrier who saved the day, the dogs bark woke the family up and they  were able to alert the fire service.  Sadly we haven't been able to ascertain the dogs colour or age but we send it a virtual pat on the back from all of us here at FCCL. 

Of course we also send a pat on the back to the fire fighters at Gipton and Stanks (because at least  one or probably two of us here at FCCL consider them our favourite fire stations) - and yes we know we shouldn't really have favourites!!!!! but we do. 

So the question is 

do you install  a smoke alarm 
or do you buy a dog ? 

If you decide one, other or both is the correct answer please click on the following links

For a free home fire safety check from WYFRS 
please click  HERE
Miss Phoebe Four Paws 

And  if you really think a mans best friend is his dog - why not contact  the Dogs Trust HERE, we are not suggesting you replace a smoke alarm with a dog but you could try a spot of volunteering or a donation to a very worthy cause. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Wedge of Transparency

How many people can say they have given 

Simon Pilling a wedgie ? 

FCCL most certain have, we have driven a wedge of transparency into the Fire Authority Door and  in 2013 we are going to continue  hitting that wedge hard and making sure that every hit on this blog drives home to the Councillors on the board and WYFRS officers and staff  that never again will they be allowed just to toe the line that is  given to them  by Simon and Co. 

So lets start 2013 with a demonstration of WYFRS Spin.......... 

The FireFly Sticker 

The WYFRS Version 

Firefly is an unobtrusive safety marker system in the form of highly reflective stickers that will fit neatly on the base of the external doors and also on internal doors and door frames, to identify rooms where vulnerable people sleep.

It uses high visibility retro-reflective stickers which are visible to fire fighters in normal or low light levels, as well as atmospheres with high concentrations of smoke or dust.

And The Fire Fighter Version 

We are now replacing fire engines with “glow in the dark” stickers ! Fire fly is a scheme which has us going into the areas which will have longer response times due to the cut backs and doing Home Safety Checks. 

We now have to put stickers on door frames/doors at floor level on the ones the occupier is most likely to be in when we finally arrive. So they are expecting the smoke level to be this far down before a fire engine even turns up. 

Also  two  Leeds area committees that were asked to fund this scheme refused to do so - these were the  Inner South – (Covers City & Hunslet, Beeston& Holbeck, Middleton Park Wards) – and Outer South – (Covers Morley North, Morley South, Ardsley & Robin Hood and Rothwell Wards).  

If this system is so good, 
what happens in these wards now

But more importantly than that .................... a house fire with persons involved requires the attendance of not one BUT THREE fire engines.  Steve Beckley (for more information on him click HERE  ) at the fire authority meeting said that second pump attendance at fires would only increase by a few seconds. But if you live in Keighley, very soon your first appliance is going to be 10 minutes further away.......... we doubt the second will be 9 seconds behind it!!!!!