Monday, October 22, 2007

What goes up, must...

stay there, because the firemen might get hurt trying to take it down:

The crews have been barred from cleaning up after their community's Gala Day, which took place in early July.

The annual event is always marked with colourful bunting throughout the Bedfordshire market town.

In previous years officers have pitched in afterwards to help take it down. But this year, nearly four months after the event, the bunting is still in place.

Councillor Mark Smith, the former mayor, said: "The reason the festival bunting is still up arises from the fact that due to local health and safety advice the local fire brigade is unable to take the bunting down."

....Deputy chief fire officer Graeme Smith said: "Yes it sounds like the world has gone mad. Firefighters will climb ladders to rescue people from burning buildings but not to remove bunting after a festival.

....It is not the first time firefighters have fallen foul of health and safety laws.

In August 2006, staff at Devon fire brigade were told to use the stairs instead of sliding down their poles - in case they hurt themselves.

Health and safety officials decided the poles were a hazard despite them being used to shave off vital seconds for 130 years.

As a result, Devon's newest fire station - the £ 2.4million Greenbank station in Plymouth - was built without one - leaving officers flabbergasted.

At the time, Station officer Ken Mulville said: "I would say it takes about a second and a half to slide down the pole, as opposed to 15 or 20 seconds to run down two flights of stairs - but those seconds could be critical."

Gloucestershire Fire Brigade was the first in Britain to ban its firemen from using their poles in 2002 after taking into account European safety directives.

....In December 2005, fire crews in Merseyside were also banned from going running – in case they injured themselves and claimed damages.

The order was imposed after colleague Gavin Bassie, 38, won £100,000 for injuries sustained when he slipped as he was running at his base.

Firefighters were then told: "All forms of running as part of physical training will be prohibited for all service personnel until further notice."

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