Fire and Rescue Service falls short

State Comptroller's report: There are not enough fire stations; not enough firefighters; lack of emergency vehicles; training system inadequate.

December 9, 2010 09:39
1 minute read.
Israel Fire Service fire trucks in convoy

Fire trucks 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Shortcomings in the Fire and Rescue Service, according to the State Comptroller’s Report:

• There are not enough fire stations, nor are they distributed in a way that would allow them to fulfill their mission during an emergency.

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• Full manpower allocation is 1,948 positions, of which 1,381 are first responders; currently there are only 1,685 firefighters employed, of whom 1,185 are first responders. Even if all positions were filled, the fire services would be well below the ratio of firefighters to population found in Western countries.

• There is a “serious lack of emergency vehicles.” There are supposed to be 519, but there are only 349 currently in use that meet the lenient standard of seeing fewer than 20 years of service. A further 93 vehicles are in use, but do not meet that standard.

• There is no computerized communication system joining the different firefighting stations, and the only means of communication for the fire services are obsolete field radios that operate on a minimal range of frequencies, creating radio traffic jams during emergencies.

• The firefighter training school is run in a facility that does not enable the recruits to pass international standards of training, and its use endangers the recruits’ lives. Although fire officials have repeatedly warned the Interior Ministry about the state of the training academy, no action has been taken to rectify the situation.

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