05 August 2006


Fire chiefs in Devon have hit back at claims they built a new station without a pole for health and safety reasons. The 52 firefighters at the new £2.1m Greenbank fire service HQ, in Plymouth, have to run down two flights of stairs to get to their engines. It was reported the pole was left out for fear of officers slipping on it, hurting their knees and ankles. But a spokeswoman for Devon Fire and Rescue Service said there was no room for a pole in the station. Bernard Hughes, Fire Service Authority chairman, said on Friday that everything in the fire service was now governed by risk assessment. "Whilst every consideration regarding health and safety was taken into account, the reason that a pole was not included was purely due to space restrictions." The traditional pole has been used in fire stations since Victorian times and was described by the FBU spokesman as an "iconic symbol" which is also "useful and very important". full story bbc.co.uk

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