Fire chiefs are aiming to reduce the number of collisions their fire engines are involved in and reduce attacks on officers as part of its latest safety clamp down.
Cleveland Fire Authority is aiming to reduce the number of officers who face attacks from yobs after seeing around 90 more incidents over the past two years as part of its latest safety strategy from 2018 to 2022.
In terms of numbers of accidents in 2016/2017, there was 41, with 33 when vehicles were not on blue-light emergencies and eight when they were.
In 2017/2018 there was again a total of 41 accidents, with 28 off blue light and 13 on blue light.
A number of training measures have been put in place for firefighters to aid improvements and help bring down the figure.
Ray Khaliq, director of technical services, said: “We’ve seen a slight increase in vehicle accidents and ironically the majority of them tend to be not on blue lights and we are going to be working with staff to improve that.
“At the present time approximately two thirds are a human error on the part of our employees and the other third is due to fault or a third party etc.
“We’ve had 41 each of the last two years, we still have time to go on this years but there is a slight reduction and that’s because of various measures we have put in place.
“It’s something we have been focusing on throughout this year, they’ve passed the training provision, all of our emergency drivers every two years have to come back in and do refresher training.”
Another area highlighted in the safety report is reducing the attacks on firefighters, which have seen a rise in recent years, and catching the culprits.
Mr Khaliq, director of technical services, said:”It is vitally important that the authority and management have a robust health and safety strategy in place.
“It’s a sad fact that attacks on our firefighters are increasing in the last two years, we’ve seen an increase of some 45 attacks per year.
“We work very closely with police and we are currently trialling body worn cameras to not only deter but make sure any offenders are brought to justice.”
Members on the Cleveland Fire Authority Executive Committee backed the plans while criticizing those who attack firefighters.
Chair of the committee Coun Jan Brunton Dobson, who sits on Middlesbrough Council, said: “It’s such a sad fact attacks are increasing on firefighters doing a service protecting people.
“It’s a really good strategy in keeping firefighters and members of the public safe.”
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service