File Photo: Kildare Fire Service
Members of Newbridge Fire Service are delayed in getting out to calls because of heavy traffic in Newbridge, according to a local councillor.
Cllr Murty Aspell called for emergency lighting to be provided for the vehicles of on-call staff at the station at last week’s meeting of the Kildare- Newbridge Municipal District. This could mean on-call firemen might reach the station quicker when summoned in the case of an emergency.
“I know for a fact on two occasions this month alone, the fire service couldn’t get out to chimney fires because of the dense traffic in Newbridge,” said Cllr Aspell.
Chief Fire Officer Celina Barrett said the traffic in Newbridge is a challenge, but provisions are in place to manage the situation.
“The fire service has attended any incident that we’ve been mobilised to. The traffic in Newbridge is causing us a challenge, but we have put provisions in place and if for some reason the fire engine in Newbridge is unable to mobilise then, depending on where the call is, they’ve been told to mobilise either Naas or Monasterevin Fire Station,” Chief Executive Fire Officer Celina Barrett told the Leader.
“So it’s not the case that the fire service has not responded to any calls that we’ve been mobilised to. Anyone that goes to Newbridge at the moment will realise how bad the traffic is, and the fire service has no control over that.
“The guys are making the best effort to get to the station, but we have a time limit on when we think it’s appropriate to look for other resources. So if those time limits are exceeded, then they automatically alert another fire station to make sure that there’s another fire engine on the way.
“So it may be that the chimney fire gets two fire engines and they’re wondering what’s happening but we have to put provisions in to manage the situation.”
Cllr Aspell said the Newbridge traffic problems are not allowing people who are highly trained to do their job.
“This is the third month in a row I’ve raised this, and there doesn’t seem to be any let up, it’s crazy,” he said.
He said the fact the fire service can’t get through the town because of traffic is “unacceptable”.
“I’m going to keep banging this drum until something is done,” Cllr Aspell added.
In relation to the call to provide emergency lighting to on-call staff, Ms Barrett said this would not be feasible.
She said the legislation allows a fire brigade vehicle the use of blue lights, but “private vehicles used by firefighters to get to their station is not covered by the legislation and any requirement to provide such lights would require an amendment of the primary legislation in this area”.