SIPTU has called for immediate action to increase firefighter/paramedic numbers in the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) after a fire appliance was taken out of operation last night (Thursday, 15th February) due to a lack of staff in Donnybrook Fire Station, Dublin 4. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “There should be a total of 133 firefighter/paramedics and 36 officers on duty at all times manning frontline fire appliances and ambulances across Dublin City in order to meet agreed safety standards. However, there were only 109 firefighter/paramedics and 29 officers due to start work last night, which meant that fire safety cover in the city was potentially down by 20%. “Senior Officers mitigated some of this risk by trying to get people to report for overtime at the start of the shift but were unable to compensate adequately for the staff shortage, resulting in a fire appliance having to be taken out of service in Donnybrook.” He added: “The lack of personnel trained to drive emergency vehicles is further exasperating the situation. This problem was foreseen and could have been averted by training more staff. If the situation is not addressed very quickly the depletion of fire cover is likely to get much worse.” SIPTU DFB Convenor, Shane McGill, said: “As was highlighted on RTE’s Liveline programme yesterday, which included the case of an 87-year-old woman in Drumcondra who was informed that no ambulance was available to respond to her call, ambulance cover in the city is also at a critical point. “During 2017, DFB ambulances responded to 114,613 calls. Call volumes are up year upon year, yet DFB is still operating with 12 ambulances despite a capacity review identifying the need for at least an additional four. All DFB ambulances are operated by dual trained crews meaning they are in operation 24-hours, seven days a week.” He added: “The level of DFB recruitment planned for this year will not come close to addressing the current staffing crisis. It is essential that a decision is made to adequately resource the DFB Fire and Ambulance service. There must also be a fully independent review of the Fire-based Emergency Medical Service which is provided by the DFB in Dublin prior to any attempt to break it up.”