They were called out at 02:38 but there’s no mention of the response time in the MSM reports so I feel sure there were no complaints about it and thus no opportunity to revisit their earlier scare stories about staff shortages. A local resident told TuS that they were there ‘quicker than you could tell Ruth Davidson was lying, like, ken!’
Using Reporting Scotland editorial guidelines, TuS is no able to re-use our earlier report to harp on about the Scottish Fire Service’s good figures:
Here are the official statistics revealing staff numbers, especially the ‘crucial’ part-time, retained, firefighters, to be fairly constant. English figures for context, later.
‘Staff Headcount On 31st March 2018 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had a total headcount of 7,776 staff, which is down 0.7% on the total last year. The 3,546 wholetime operational staff (full-time firefighters) make up the largest staff group at 46% of the workforce. This was a reduction of 2.7% on last year’s headcount for wholetime operational staff. Retained Duty System staff make up the next largest group accounting for 37% of staff with a headcount of 2,863. This is relatively unchanged on last year. The largest proportional change is in the control staff group which increased by 24 (14.5%) in the last year, bringing the total up to 189.’
In England, from 2011 to 2017, the total FTE of firefighters (full-time and retained) decreased from 43,360 to 35,620, 17.8%!
Comparing Scotland with England:
Scotland has 6 409 firefighters while England has 35 620. So, England has 10 times the population but only 5.5 times the number of firefighters. Before the Tory cuts, the ratio would have been 7 times as opposed to 10 times. Bearing in mind Scotland’s larger area per head of population, that might not seem unreasonable.
And, deaths in fires are falling:
From BBC UK News in December 2018:
‘Fire safety checks across England have fallen by 42% over the last seven years, according to the new watchdog for fire and rescue services. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services says brigades do a good job in emergencies, but amid cuts have reduced “vital” prevention work. The watchdog said the number of audits carried out by firefighters dropped from 84,575 in 2010-11 to 49,423 in 2017-18.’
In Scotland, published in August 2018:
‘The number of fire safety audits carried out in 2015/16 was 9,829. Most of the premises audited by the SFRS have relatively adequate fire safety measures and are categorised as ‘broadly compliant’ (9,180 audits: 93%). While 79% (7,779 audits) of the premises audited have average or low levels of relative risk.’
In Scotland 2015/16, 9 827 safety audits were carried out. England has 10 times the population and so, all things being equal, might have been expected to have seen 98 270 fire safety audits. However, in 2017/18, England saw only 49 423 fire safety audits, just over half the number. Fire safety audits in Scotland are thus almost twice as common, per head of population, in Scotland as in England.
Why? Cost-cutting Tory local authorities? Cost-cutting Tory central government?
This shocking news, post-Grenfell, follows earlier reports here:
‘Stricter [fire] safety rules leave Scotland out of danger’ The English media spot the difference. Did BBC Scotland?
‘High rise fires in Scotland at lowest level in eight years’
A local resident told TuS that they were there ‘quicker than you could tell Ruth Davidson was lying, like, ken!’