North West fire crews have been given assurances there will be no extension of use of fire crews and equipment into Merseyside during strike action
North West fire crews from the brigades which directly border Merseyside have been given assurances by their Chief Fire Officers that fire crews and equipment from those brigades will not be deployed into Merseyside during periods of strike action. The exceptions are ‘border’ areas with long-standing mutual assistance agreements which already provide for a joint response and in the event of a catastrophic incident such as a terrorist attack.
Crews from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire say equipment and personnel paid for by their local council tax-payers should not be usedto cover additional areas which are the responsibility of Merseyside fire authority. Any such use would have reduced fire service availability within their own brigades and upset detailed safety and support arrangements.
FBU regional secretary Kevin Brown said: “We all work closely with each other at emergency incidents on and around our operational borders. The areas currently jointly covered will remain covered but there is no extension to additional areas beyond these, with the exception of a catastrophic incident such as a terrorist attack.
“Fire crews throughout the North West, including Cumbria which does not directly border Merseyside, have made it clear that we fully support our colleagues in Merseyside in their lawful strike action in the fight against the cuts. Our concern was to ensure that firefighters and the public in the bordering brigades were not endangered by any ill thought out plans during the dispute in Merseyside.
“We have been given suitable assurances by our chief officers who understand our concern that existing agreements will be maintained with no extension of cover into other areas of Merseyside. Northwest fire crews will be fully supporting the strike, including providing financial assistance.”