Hertfordshire firefighters' deaths prompt safety probe

URGENT issues need to be addressed in order to meet health and safety guidelines at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, according to its union. The death of two firefighters led to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

URGENT issues need to be addressed in order to meet health and safety guidelines at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, according to its union.

The death of two firefighters, in Stevenage, led to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) though it is not prosecuting.

A report just released highlighted areas of concern including a poor review of its breathing apparatus refresher course, rescue boat training, cleaning of fire kit and intelligence packs for high rise residential buildings.

Tony Smith, Fire Brigades Union secretary for Herts, said issues needed to be "addressed as a matter of urgency".


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"Firefighters work in very hazardous situations where health and safety is more important, not less important.

"Our job is to protect lives, property and the environment and we want to do that safely so we can return to our families at the end of our working day."

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The report also commented on the good practice in the service, focusing on the good management of health and safety, and in particular the training and competence of staff.

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher said: "We will of course co-operate with the HSE to ensure we have the best training methods in place."

Firefighters Jeff Wornham and Michael Miller died trying to save a woman in a fire at Harrow Court, Stevenage, in February 2005. The woman, Natalie Close, also died in the blaze.

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