Monday 19 January 2009

FBU Public Meeting

The Fire Brigades Union Public Meeting tonight on the proposed closure of Parkhead Fire Station was lively and well attended. There were meaningful, heartfelt contributions from the floor, both by fire fighters and members of the public. The FBU got to make the presentation that was denied to members of the Fire Board by the Labour Chair, and the public and elected members got to hear the other side of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue's proposals.

Ken Ross, the Regional Secretary for Scotland of the FBU gave a very informative presentation busting the myths and half truths being sold to locals as part of the consultation. The constituents I spoke to afterwards were very grateful to have had the counter-presentation., which really just highlights how things were being spun. The FBU website has a lot of information on this, but the basic points are as follows;

- the number of fire fighters at the new Cambuslang station (which will replace Parkhead and Cambuslang) will be around thirty fewer
- there will be one fewer fire appliance
- response times will increase
- fewer fire fighters means that fewer home fire safety visits can be carried out.

All this when there will be significant developments going on in the east end.

I personally delivered a survey to Parkhead residents to ask people why Parkhead Fire Station mattered to them. I spent a most of my day today going through the responses which had arrived. I wasn't surprised to hear that people wanted to save their local fire station, but I was taken aback by the stories they had written about the impact of fire on their lives. For several the fire wasn't even in their own home, but that of a neighbour. If fire crews had taken just a few minutes longer, several families would have been trapped and lost their lives. For others, the simple reassurance of having the service there for when they need it is invaluable.

Neither the people of Parkhead, nor fire fighters can see the logic of this closure. I'm with them. The closure of Parkhead Fire Station is a bad deal for the people of the East End and I will do what I can to make their voices heard.

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