A report out today has raised concerns about Greater Manchester’s Fire and Rescue services ability to respond to terror attacks.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services raised particular concern with Greater Manchester’s inability to respond effectively to terror-related incidents, with the service, it says, reliant on firefighters travelling from Merseyside to provide this specialist support.
Hundreds of firefighters have been specially trained and equipped to deal with a marauding gun attack across the Uk.
However a dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and employers in Greater Manchester had led to the unit being disbanded about six months ago and an attack could see other units take up to an hour to be mobilised.
HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services, Zoë Billingham, said:
“We were particularly concerned about a serious gap in one fire service’s ability to respond to a terror attack. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service does not currently have its own specialist capability in place to respond effectively to terror-related incidents. This must change.“
The national report found that most fire and rescue services showed strengths in the way they prepared for and responded to fires and other emergencies, like road traffic collisions.
It also said services rightly focused on prevention activities, with the best adopting innovative practices to protect those most at risk from fire, including the elderly and people with disabilities.
However it warned that more than a decade of localism had led to marked differences between services: for example, in how they have determined their response standards and record them; how they identify and mitigate risk; and how they define and audit high-risk premises.