No increase in funding for county’s fire services.

Central Government has given no increase in funding to the county’s fire services, despite concerns at the heightened risk of further major terror attacks in Europe. That’s according to the Kerry`s Chief Fire Officer. Kevin Caffrey said the county has a very satisfactory joint emergency plan, operated in tandem with the health board. The plan enables the fire service to respond primarily to air and rail emergencies, but does not specifically cover terrorist attacks.While stating that Kerry is seen a low-profile area in terms of possible terror attacks, the Chief Fire Officer is expressing concerns about funding and training to enable the fire service to respond to such an event. Kevin Caffrey points out that specialist equipment, including decontamination units, were been put in place by the County Fire Services in the wake of the September 11th attacks.This however, had to be paid for from the service’s normal local authority budget. No extra money has been made available from central government. While an increase in funding came from Kerry county council, much of this has been used for badly needed pay-rises. The Chief Fire Officer is also critical of the staffing of the government committee that was formed in response to the September 11th attacks.There are no county fire officers on the national committee, despite the fact that local fire services are a point of first response, in the event of a terrorist attack. In terms of training, Kerry Fire Service can boast a standard comparable to, if not better than the rest of the country, Mr. Caffrey says. While training is a priority of the County Fire Service no additional funding has been provided.

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