Revealed: How counselling services for firefighters have been cut back

Counselling services available to the firefighters who responded to the Grenfell Tower fire were drastically cut back, it can today be revealed, under Boris Johnson’s leadership as the former Mayor of London.

The number of counsellors trained to help firefighters process the traumatic scenes they witness on the job in the London Fire Brigade was cut from 14 to just 2 under Johnson, who also took 13 fire engines off the run.   The current management of the LFB are now grappling with this unfortunate legacy of cuts. 

So far 17 people have been confirmed dead in the harrowing disaster but that figure is expected to rise dramatically.   The numbers of casualties are expected to run into hundreds.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “The absolutely devastating scenes that firefighters witnessed at Grenfell will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They are heroic men and women who just get on with the job and don’t complain but at the end of the day, they’re human and will be affected by what they see. The priority today is to make sure that everything possible is done to take care of their mental wellbeing after such a horrific disaster.  We need more counsellors to look after them, not less.”

A London firefighter who attended the scene, who asked to remain anonymous, said:

“It was absolutely horrific at Grenfell, and it’s still very very raw.  I have seen some really horrible things that I’ve never experienced seeing before and hope I will never see again.  It will stay with me all my life.  We were offered a session with a counsellor which I took up, and it did help, but nothing will get those images out of my mind.”

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