Today, Monday, 19th February, Avon firefighters are rallying against cuts to 40 firefighter posts at a fire authority meeting.

Speakers, including Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack, are set to address the rally of firefighters and supporters from the FBU fire engine.

This follows the fire authority’s decision to cut 40 wholetime (full time) firefighter posts and reduce fire engine crews from 5 firefighters to 4 across the service.

An FBU official is scheduled to address the budget setting meeting, urging Avon fire authority to invest in the service. Firefighters have condemned the cuts as ‘dangerous and irresponsible’.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters know an emergency when they see one, and Avon fire authority must listen to the warnings of those on the frontline.

“We have lost 1 in 5 firefighters to cuts in England over the last decade. Avon Fire and Rescue Service is already on the sharp end of this austerity, with the inspectorate declaring it unable to adequately respond to or prevent fires.

"The dangerous decision to cut 40 firefighter posts must be rescinded to protect firefighters and save lives."

Fire Brigades Union South West regional treasurer Amanda Mills said: “Firefighters have travelled from across the region today to send a clear message to Avon fire authority members: cutting firefighters from a service in crisis will cost lives.

“Under-resourcing has left Avon Fire and Rescue Service rated “inadequate” at responding to fires as well as understanding risk and preventing fires.

“More cuts will only deepen this crisis. Fewer firefighters mean slower emergency response times and less lifesaving preventative work. When every second counts, fewer firefighters equals more danger, putting public safety on the line.”

“The fire authority must reverse this decision and invest in improving our vital service.”