United Firefighters Union members want more firefighters employed at the Gladstone Fire Station.
United Firefighters Union members want more firefighters employed at the Gladstone Fire Station. Tom Huntley

Firies claim cost cutting is risking people's lives

GLADSTONE firefighters claim the State Government is risking people's lives by playing a "risk management game".

The claim comes after Gladstone members of the United Firefighter Union of Queensland have been allegedly refused a call-back crew from the station officer.

Queensland Fire and Rescue procedure requires that first-response crews, consisting of three firefighters and one station officer, advise the fire communication centre that the on-duty crew is leaving the boundary zone and a call-back crew is required.

A call-back crew is requested in case another emergency occurs while the first-response crew is out of range.

During the past few weeks, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Gladstone station has been allegedly failing to deploy a call-back crew on the request of a first-response team.

This has allegedly occurred twice in the past three weeks.

UFUQ Gladstone branch president Clint Adrian said the behaviour by QFRS management had the potential to put lives at risk.

"If we are already at a job that is 15 to 30 minutes away, it will cause considerable delays in responding to other incidents," Mr Adrian said.

"It appears to be a cost-cutting measure. It costs the station a couple of hundred dollars to use a call-back crew."

The Department of Community Safety said there had been no change to procedures used for call-back crews.

"Claims that call-back crews have not been used due to a cost-cutting measure are not substantiated," the representative said.

The department said QFRS Gladstone had responded to 90% of all structure fires within 11.3 minutes and achieved its service delivery standard of responding to 90% of all structure fires within 14 minutes.

The QFRS Gladstone station is on Breslin St, West Gladstone, with first-response crews deployed between Raglan, Miriam Vale or Calliope, up to 60km away.

In a call-back, QFRS relies on off-duty auxiliary firefighters and can get equipment from any station.

Gladstone firies:

  •  20 fire officers rostered for shift work in Gladstone.
  •  Work is a combination of 24/7 shifts and day work shifts.
  •  Five auxiliary firefighters are attached to the station.
  •  Two operational senior officers.