Observer: Our firefighters are beyond price

Our independent columnist Observer considers the status of firefighters in our community in the light of the horrific fire in London.

The word “hero” is bandied around far too easily in this world.

I will show you some real heroes…the firefighters who battled the terrible blaze at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London.

Here is something that was passed to me by a colleague. It was on Facebook and I make no apologies for reproducing what was said about this horrific event from a firefighter who was not there, but tells us so much.

“To put this into some perspective for my non-fire service friends.

“The fire started on the 4th floor apparently so the firefighters would have donned and started their Breathing Apparatus (BA) sets not much above the ground floor.

“Some of these crews would have been tasked with making their way to the 20th floor wearing said BA sets (approximately 15kgs) and wearing full fire gear (another 7+kgs with helmet and boots), some would have been
carrying additional equipment: breaking in tools; coils of hose; rescue sets for casualties etc.

“None of these items could be described as ‘lightweight’.

“All the time trying to preserve precious air from their cylinders. When they got to wherever, they would then have proceeded to set into the wet risers, charged their hose lines (One 23m length full of water weighs 90kg) fought fires (in compartments with ceiling temperatures of up 1000 degrees centigrade) rescued any casualties, all the while keeping a wary eye on their gauges to make sure they would have enough air to get them back down (potentially 20 floors) to safety.”

Two points from me:

  1. Never forget the debt we owe the fire service crews in Uckfield, East Sussex and beyond.
  2. Never allow those in power to weaken our fire service in the name of cuts, efficiencies to meet austerity targets. A well-equipped fire brigade with sufficient firefighters is beyond price. It is not a luxury.

[I would also make the same argument for their colleagues in the other “blue light” services.]

*Apologies for missing last week. Too much late-night election result watching did for me.

 See also:

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Jodie gets set for London to Brighton Bike Ride

Uckfield Rugby Club appoints new head coach

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