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state comptroller's report echoed repeated warnings sounded over the years by firefighters over chronic lack of staff, outdated equipment and underfunding.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.
Firefighting failure is failure of all gov'ts, says Yishai
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,"
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.