Beds Removed to Stop Firemen Sleeping on the Night Shift

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Lydall

BEDS are to be removed from London fire stations to prevent firefighters sleeping on night duty.

The London fire authority was today expected to approve the plan as part of a series of changes to firefighters' shifts. It wants to move all 5,800 firefighters on to 12-hour shifts to allow more training and community fire safety work to be carried out during the day.

The aim is also to make the brigade -- the biggest in the country -- more efficient in advance of expected severe funding cuts as the Government battles to restore finances in the wake of the recession.

This would see the removal of beds, officially known as "horizontal platforms", that allow front-line staff to rest while on the current 15-hour night shift, which runs from 6pm to 9am.

Fire chiefs and politicians on the Tory-controlled fire authority want to replace the night shift and nine-hour day shift, which runs from 9am to 6pm, with two shifts of 12 hours, starting at 8am and 8pm.

The system of firefighters working two day shifts, two night shifts and then having four days off would not be affected.

The beds are being phased out as stations are modernised but the Evening Standard understands that senior fire authority figures are determined to use the shorter night shift to scrap them completely. …