Weather calls 'add to case against firefighter cuts'
The union representing firefighters has called on the Government to put cuts on hold after their members spent the last few days fighting the effects of the dreadful weather.
Tam McFarlane, of the South West Fire Brigades Union, said crews had shown "extraordinary professionalism" tackling floods and landslides in the region over the last few days.
He said that despite extra assistance being drafted into the Westcountry from other areas which had not suffered such an intense deluge, the service had been "pushed to the limit" with emergency fire control staff working around the clock.
He said: "Fire crews have been on the ground constantly since Wednesday operating in the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances to help people badly affected by severe flooding.
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"Crews have carried out countless rescues of people trapped in flood water and have been dealing with landslides and large scale pumping operations.
"With more storms forecast for the weekend, the fire and rescue service remains on high alert."
Mr McFarlane said the Government should recognise the enormous demands placed on the capacity of the service and remove any suggestion of cuts in the frontline.
"The current and ongoing situation in the South West should be a stark wake-up call to the consequences of proposed cuts to the front line fire and rescue service and politicians need to pay heed," he said.