News

.

SCOTTISH FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE ALLEGED TO BE FAILING  (05/12) 

According to a senior fire officer who has turned ‘whistleblower’ the amalgamation of the regional fire & rescue services into one national service is failing the public and putting them and firefighters at risk.

The officer, said to have 32 years’ experience, has written to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, listing the many areas where he alleges the service is failing.  He claims that the amalgamation has “dragged the service back 20 years”. One particular area of serious concern is said to be the fact that the regional fire controls have yet to start working in unison.

The Scottish Fire Brigades Union is lending support to the whistle-blower. It is claimed that bullying by senior officers is commonplace.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland is a WRFA member, Simon Routh-Jones.

STAFF IN AVON FRS CLAIM TO BE BULLIED  (02/12) 

A review into management culture at AVON FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE has revealed some severe and deep seated problems involving bullying and a failure to introduce equality.

The review was instituted by the present Chief Fire Officer, Mick Crennell, who has succeeded the late CFO Kevin Pearson.  Kevin was one of the longest serving CFO’s in the UK when he died from cancer during a period of suspension.  Top management in the Service was under investigation through a statutory inquiry ordered by the Home Office.  The Chairman of the fire authority who was also long serving has also been replaced.

The review has uncovered claims that the bullying is widespread and relates to matters such as staff being disciplined for no apparent reason.  As far as equality is concerned, it is alleged that “on call” (retained) firefighters are disparaged and female firefighters are treated less fairly than males.

CFO Crennell has accepted that the cultural change needed will take time and resources.

To learn more, see the full article to be published in the January edition of our newsletter, THE BRANCH

PRESIDENT TRUMP “ILL-INFORMED” ABOUT WILDFIRES  (12/11) 

As over 80,000 firefighters battle to bring under control wildfires in California that have taken a heavy toll of life and property, President Donald Trump is reported to have offended the firefighters by failing to recognise their herculean efforts but instead has threatened to cut grant aid to the State of California and been critical of how forest management has been applied.

Press and media reporters that have been present to see the firefighting taking place have all been loud in their praise of the firefighters stating that they have saved many more properties than have been lost to the fires around the town named Paradise.

The head of the union representing many of the firefighters involved has made a statement claiming that the president is ill-informed and his remarks are inaccurate.

How will the firefighters of the USA vote one wonders next time the nation goes to the ballot box?

‘ON CALL’ FIREFIGHTER SHORTAGE IN WILTSHIRE  (09/11) 

The difficulties in recruiting and retaining part-time firefighters in Wiltshire has now become so serious that the top management has admitted to the press and media that response to emergency calls is being adversely affected.  Strenuous and sustained effort to recruit men and women to provide crews for pumps at ‘on call’ stations has failed because resignations have matched the number of new recruits.  It was hoped that the contractual system of employing ‘on call’ firefighters introduced a few years ago would give the public a more reliable service from the part-time stations.  Experience is proving to the contrary.

WRFA TO LAY POPPY WREATH  (08/11) 

By courtesy of CFO Ben Ansell our Association was allowed the honour of laying a wreath at a ceremony on Friday 9th November 2018 at Service HQ, Five Rivers, Salisbury. John Craig, Secretary & Treasurer, laid the wreath on behalf of the Association.

This year’s WRFA remembrance event paid particular attention to the centenary of the Armistice that created the cease fire in the First World War that eventually led to a peace settlement. It is therefore deemed appropriate that our wreath depicts a brass fire helmet surrounded by red poppies. It is known that many firefighters who wore such helmets put down the branch and axe and took up a weapon, substituting killing for the saving of life in the Great War. Many laid down their lives in service of their country.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

DEATH OF JAMES (‘JIM’) GUY  (07/11)

The very sad news has been received that Jim Guy passed away on 3rd November.

Jim was a member of the WRFA who liked to attend our Remembrance Event every year even though his home was near Maldon in Essex.  Jim served for many years in the RAF Fire Service.  Jim was unmarried but had a close friend, Gloria Garland, and the condolences of the Association have been passed to her.

CFO ANSELL AWARDED BFSA COMMENDATION MEDAL  (07/11)

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell has been awarded the Commendation Medal of the British Fire Services Association. 

This award comes in recognition of CFO Ansell’s leadership of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service particularly during the period of the nerve agent attack that affected Salisbury and Amesbury.  Details of the presentation are yet to be announced.

DAILY TELEGRAPH CHRISTMAS APPEAL TO SUPPORT FIRE FIGHTERS CHARITY  (13/10) 

One of the three national charities that the Daily Telegraph will be nominating for its Christmas Appeal this year is The fire Fighters Charity.  The paper is hoping to feature in its appeal an interview with Joan Dauncey who lives in Trowbridge and who is an Honorary Member of our Association.

When Joan was an infant her father was a member of the London Fire Services engaged on fighting the fires started by Nazi bombing of London in World War 2.  Joan’s father was one of the hundreds of the capital’s firefighters that were killed on active service.  The Fire Fighters Charity stepped up to support Joan and her family and Joan was a beneficiary until she reached adulthood.

DEATH OF ANGELA JACKSON  (11/10) 

With much sorrow the death of Angela (“Angie” )Jackson is announced.  Angie died on 30th September near her home in Worcestershire.  She had cancer in multiple sites throughout her body. 

Angie joined the WRFA and was made eligible by the fact that her first husband, Dave Symes, was Brigade Transport Officer in Wiltshire Fire Brigade before he died in service. 

Dave’s grave is in Westbury Cemetery and Angie’s funeral service was held at the chapel in the same cemetery on 24th October.

REVD. DAVID WAKEFIELD IS VERY ILL  (27/09) 

David Wakefield is terminally ill and receiving palliative care at his home in Devizes.

The good wishes of the WRFA have been sent to David and Liz together with an offer to do all we can to help.  David is keeping cheerful and gaining great strength and comfort from his Christian faith.

BBC4 PROGRAMME – BLAZES AND BRIGADES  (21/09)

An hour-long programme depicting the story of the fire service was shown on Thursday 20th September.  This can still be viewed via the BBC iPlayer.