(Image: Alistair Linford)
BBC Scotland news have been making much of their recent discovery that:
‘Three Aberdeen fire engines stood down due to staffing problems’
The headline is quite dishonest and tabloid-like in its attempt to scare. In fact, one vehicle was not available last Tuesday and two were not available on Wednesday. There is a big gap between the headline and the facts here. At no time, were three vehicles unavailable. On only one day were two unavailable. On only two days in the previous three or four months (100 plus days) were any vehicles unavailable. BBC Scotland last reported problems in April 2018.
How much of a risk is death by fire?
From the BBC:
England: The figures for July 2016 to June 2017 put the annual total at 346, which was 20% up from the previous year’s figure of 289. We do not have comparable figures for July to June in previous years.
Scotland: There were 44 fire-related casualties in Scotland in 2016-17, down [2%] from 45 the previous year.
How much are firefighter numbers falling?
Firefighter numbers in Scotland fell by 1.2% between 2016 and 2017 and by 13% from 2011.
‘If we restrict ourselves to just firefighters, there were 29,018 full-time equivalent firefighters employed directly by their fire services across England in 2010. That had fallen to 22,957 in 2017 – that’s a drop of just over 6,000.’
That’s a fall of 21%.
Occasional shortages of firefighters are common across the UK:
I don’t have the time or the will to check how small-scale the Aberdeen shortages were compared to any of those listed above. Perhaps BBC Scotland’s large team of research assistants might like to?