´Fire service failures continued after Carmel disaster´ (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN 06/20/12)
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In addition to examining what went wrong during the December 2010
Carmel fire disaster, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss looked at
how fire authorities functioned in the first half of 2011.
The report contains a damning list of failures. The Comptroller found
that many fire stations did not carry out training sessions as
specified by instructions from the Fire and Rescue Service, and not
all fire fighters took part in training sessions that were held.
Even fire stations situated in areas that have high-rise building
areas, train stations, and industrial areas failed to train for
scenarios involving the unique challenges of their areas.
The national fire fighting school in Rishon Lezion failed to run any
of the three courses set by the Fire and Rescue Service in 2005. The
school has no set training staff, and it relies on staff recruited in
an ad-hoc fashion, the report added.
As of January 2011, nine of out 24 fire station commanders were not
qualified firefighters, and were selected via an external tender,
after internal tenders failed to find suitable candidates.
Forty one percent of firefighters are aged 40 or more, and no
examination of their physical fitness or ability to meet mission is
Lindenstrauss also found that operational fire vehicles went out for
non-mission related reasons, such as shopping trips on 1,600
occasions between January 2010 and March 2011. "This phenomenon is
especially prevalent in fire stations in Ashkelon, Beersheba, the
Western Galilee and Haifa," he wrote.
In 34% (3,400 of 10,000) of incidents classed as very dangerous, only
one fire crew was dispatched to the scene, as opposed to two, as
Just two individual firefighters, and sometimes even one, arrived at
very serious incidents. "In such a situation, a large population has
no solution during an incident, to the point where lives and property
are at risk," Lindenstrauss wrote.
The report also criticized the fact that there are no set arrival
times for incidents.
The number of firefighters and vehicles that head out to incidents is
half of the average number of forces dispatched to fires in most
Western countries, and the arrival time of fire crews in Israel is
twice as long as in Western countries.
Additionally, the current structure of fire authorities means that
jurisdictions are set by municipal borders, and not by the location
of the closet firefighting force. This means that fire crews located
far from an incident could be called to respond while closer crews
"The findings also raised suspicions of a clash of interests in the
conduct of members of local regional councils who are also members of
regional fire unions, including employing relatives, receiving
donations from commercial bodies without any checks, and issue of
vehicles," the report added. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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