SIPTU members in Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) have raised concerns about staffing levels which resulted in a serious deficit in services in several areas of the city yesterday (Friday, 5thOctober) during the Government’s official Fire Safety Week. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “Yesterday morning, a lack of staff resulted in fire appliances being taken out of operation at fire stations in the North Strand, Dolphin’s Barn and Tallaght. There was also no staff available to man the DFB Foam Unit which provides specialist firefighting services which are essential in dealing with certain categories of fire. “Two fire appliances are based in the station in Tallaght which covers an area with a population of more than 70,000. Lack of staff resulted in both appliances being out of operation for a period yesterday. In the event of a fire occurring in Tallaght appliances would have had to travel from other parts of the city resulting in slower response times and diminishing the probability of success in a rescue situation.” He added: “The situation was exacerbated yesterday due to the appliance in Dolphin’s Barn, the next closest fire station to Tallaght, also having a fire appliance out of operation due to a lack of staff.” SIPTU DFB Convenor, Shane McGill said: “A lack of staff has been an ongoing issue for a number of years within DFB. There has been insufficient recruitment resulting in the service being overly reliant on overtime. There are currently 23 recruits in training to join the DFB. This class could have been twice the size as the training centre can cater for 50 recruits. “Firefighters feel they and the public are being put at risk unnecessarily. Firefighters don’t know when they arrive to a call if sufficient numbers will arrive to safely allow them to tackle the emergency situation. That a situation developed yesterday, where fire appliances in several areas of the city where out of operation due to a lack to staff during Fire Safety Week, when firefighters are promoting fire prevention measures to the public, is sadly ironic.” He added: “A lack of staff in DFB means that every week of the year fire safety is being reduced in our city. This is a situation our members find completely unacceptable. They have exhausted discussions with management on this issue and have referred it to the Workplace Relations Commission.”