Cuts to Dutch fire brigades to lead to more deaths

18th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

More people are likely to die in fires if government plans for a reorganisation of the Dutch fire brigades are going ahead. Fire crews will take longer to respond to alarm calls.

The Dutch association of voluntary firemen says fire engines will in future need more time to reach fires as many of the smaller fire stations will be scrapped as part of the cuts.

Chairman Cees van Beek says, “In many cases, response times will increase to the absolute maximum of 18 minutes”. He also warned of mass resignations among volunteer firemen if the cabinet pushes ahead with its plans. According to Mr Van Beek, “This will lead to an increased risk of more victims; not just in the objects on fire, but also among firemen.”

Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak has launched a large-scale survey among firemen. He says that “experiments are being conducted involving fewer fire stations and fewer firemen per fire truck. These changes are being introduced without consulting the firemen, who are increasingly worried they will no longer be able to guarantee the safety of civilians and of their colleagues, and growing numbers are even leaving the fire brigade.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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