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state comptroller's report echoed repeated warnings sounded over the years by firefighters over chronic lack of staff, outdated equipment and underfunding.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.
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.