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Volume 588: debated on Monday 30 March 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the necessary qualifications, including training undertakings, required for

  • (a) a full-time fireman and
  • (b) a part-time fireman. [HL1092]
  • The qualifications for appointment to the rank of wholetime firefighter are set out in the Fire Services (Appointments and Promotions) Regulations 1978, as amended. These require that: the applicant is of good character; is 18 years of age or over; meets a range of specified fitness standards which would enable him or her to undertake firefighting duties; and has passed such examinations in educational subjects as the fire authority may require. All except the last qualification for appointment are applicable to part-time (retained) firefighters. The responsibility for ensuring the efficient training of members of the fire brigade rests with the local fire authority under Section 1(1)(b) of the Fire Services Act 1947.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans they have to replace full-time firefighters with part-time firefighters. [HL1093]

    Under Section 1 of the Fire Services Act 1947, the duty of making provision for firefighting purposes and for securing the services for their area of a fire brigade rests not with the Government but with the local fire authority. It is for the authority to determine the numbers of wholetime and part-time firefighters it employs. A fire authority cannot, though, reduce the number of its wholetime or part-time firefighting posts without the prior approval of the Secretary of State.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the current average response time for call-out by firefighters; and what information they have of any change caused by the replacement of full-time by part-time firefighters. [HL1117]

    For primary fires (those involving damage to property, casualties or rescues or attended by five or more appliances), the average time in 1996 in England and Wales between receipt of the first call to the fire brigade and arrival of the first appliance was just under six minutes. Information is not available centrally for other types of fire, special service incidents or false alarms, nor as to whether the primary fires were attended by full-time or part-time firefighters.