Fire Service: State's report echoes years of warnings

By
December 8, 2010 16:38

Haifa Firefighters spokesperson says Israel should have on firefighter for every 1,000 residents instead of current one per 7,000 inhabitants.

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A FIREFIGHTER at Yemin Orde youth village

Firefighter Israel Flag 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

A senior Fire and Rescue Service official told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that the content of the state comptroller's report echoed repeated warnings sounded over the years by firefighters over chronic lack of staff, outdated equipment and underfunding.

"We have warned about these problems many times," the official said.

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Haifa Firefighters spokesman Hezi Levi told Israel Radio that understaffed fire stations formed the most pressing problem. "there should be one firefighter for every thousand residents. Instead we have one firefighter for every seven thousand residents. In the South, the ratio is one firefighter for 15 to 20,000 residents."

Levi said there was an urgent need to open new fire stations in peripheral areas like the Carmel region and the Negev. Firefighters in the South warned that the closest station to the sensitive Ramat Hovev industrial center, filled with hazardous chemicals, was located half an hour away in Beersheba.

"Our archives are filled with endless correspondences with interior ministers and governments. We went on strike to protest these things," Levi said.

He added that a firefighting aerial unit capable of dousing flames with water and spraying the area with fire retardants should be attached to each station situated in the countryside to enable rapid responses.

"This does not exist in the State of Israel," he said.


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