A FIREFIGHTER with around 30 years’ experience has slammed the service’s decision to start charging the public over £400 for non-emergency call outs.
Last week West Midlands Fire Service announced it would start charging for call outs not deemed less serious, such as lock outs and pet rescues.
But a local firefighter, who has asked to remain anonymous, told the Solihull News this week that money should be saved in other areas.
He said: “Obviously some of the calls must be chargeable, people who want their swimming pools filled for example. But an old age pensioner locked outside their home?
“Most firefighters just want to help out, allow the officer in charge of the appliance to make the decision, without the risk of being put on a charge.”
The charges have been introduced following revision of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, which came into force in February this year, and sets out new guidelines and freedoms for fire authorities on charging for services carried out.
There remains no charge for officers attending serious incidents such as fires and road traffic collisions.
Vij Randeniya, chief fire officer, said last week: “We have made no secret of the financial difficulties we are currently facing, and with potential funding cuts of up to £30 million, it is clear we have to prioritise our resources.”