Firefighters are being affected by suspected waterborne infections and sickness as a result of their work to deal with the flood crisis, a union has claimed.
The Fire Brigade Union said cuts in funding have led to staff shortages, poor equipment and inadequate training.
Examples of equipment shortages and issues reported by firefighters include:
- Large numbers of firefighters attending floods in protective equipment designed for dealing with fires, rather than water
- A shortage of specialist fire service vehicles capable of driving through high levels of water
- The deployment of ageing or deteriorating boats
- A lack of sufficient dry suits, meaning replacement crews had no immediate access to this equipment, restricting their ability to respond
- Widespread problems relating to health and welfare, with firefighters being affected by suspected waterborne infections and sickness