Draft Fire & Emergency Operations Plan: “Alarm bells should be ringing” says Ongar Cllr

by Rose Barrett
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The Draft Fire and Emergency Operations Plan has recently completed its round of public consultation but according to Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind for Ongar), “Alarm bells should be sounding”.  Cllr Doyle states the plan fails to address so many shortcomings in how the emergency services can deliver to a growing Dublin population.

“The Draft Plan, as it has been presented, fails to tangibly address matters of governance, risk management, operational assurance function, operational preparedness, staffing and training.

“To date, the service has met demand but based on data provided to me, it has done so, only just” she said.

According to Cllr Doyle, this plan sets out the current Fire and Emergency arrangements within the Greater Dublin Region and it will also set out plans and targets for the Fire Authority for the next five years. The adoption of the plan is a reserved function under Section 26(3) of Fire Services Act 1981 (approved by Councillors).

“Whilst the Draft Plan proposed is comprehensive and detailed, there are in my opinion, as a Member of the Inter Local Authority Special Committee on Fire & Ambulance Services and Emergency Management, and that of several stakeholders with whom I have spoken, significant deficiencies existing which unless addressed and appropriate action(s) instituted will leave the County in a perilous position in the event of a high level critical incident or incidents.”

To date, she claims, the service has met demand but based on data she has received, it has done so – but only just.

“The Draft Plan fails on so many levels among them on risk management, operational assurance function, operational preparedness and sadly, in staffing and training.”

She continued: “Dublin Fire Brigade does not have the means to collect and share critical risk information digitally which is significantly hindering operational preparedness. It is estimated that there are over 40,000 buildings in Dublin that need to be the subject of a pre-incident planning process.

ambulance, dublin fire brigade

“The grave issue of operational firefighter staff shortage in Dublin has been ongoing for a considerable time, and highlighted repeatedly by elected public representatives. Regularly, there are a number of appliances not available due to insufficient crew levels which pose an unacceptable risk to the public and responding firefighters.

“Successive Ministers for Health and HSE Management continue to express public support for the involvement of Dublin Fire Brigade, while at the same time continuing to starve the Dublin Local Authorities of funding with which to provide the service.

“The HSE is currently in arrears in relation to its financial obligations for the provision of an ambulance service by DFB to the National Ambulance Service. In 2022 Dublin Fire Brigade mobilised its ambulances over 55,000 times, mobilised fire tenders in support of the ambulance service over 12,000 times and in over 4,000 instances, no ambulance cover was available!”

Cllr Doyle reiterated her ongoing concerns that “Despite the exponential increase in the population and density within  my own electoral area in Dublin 15, the area remains serviced by only one ambulance and one Fire Tender.

“No turntable ladder despite multiple planning approvals for high rise apartment blocks and multiple applications yet to be submitted” she concluded.

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