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tas news 7sd pageheader 2019

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Union calls for North-West fire risk fix

Fire fighting

The Firefighters Union is calling on candidates in the upcoming state election to pledge more funding for additional crews in the North-West.

The Union claims Tasmanians are more likely to die in a residential fire than people on the mainland, with the North-West of the state of particular concern. 

Despite this, the North-West region still has far fewer resources when compared to the rest of Tasmania.

Stephen McCallum from the United Firefighters Union of Australia Tasmania Branch wants it to become an election issue.

“The lives of residents in the North West are at risk. Tasmania’s economy is at risk," he said.

"The next government must prioritise community safety and fund additional 24 hour crews in the North West."

The Union has also pointed out the fire danger that currently exists at both the Devonport and Burnie ports, due to hazardous content that is stored there. 

It claims a fire at one of these facilities would have detrimental knock-on effects for the rest of the state.

"Both ports at Burnie and Devonport are near capacity, so there would be a massive economic bottleneck if a fire could not be contained at one of those facilities," Mr McCallum said.

The Union says Tasmania has one of the lowest funded fire services in Australia, with regions like the North-West frequently relying upon the availability of volunteer firefighters.

Mr McCallum believes urgent action is needed to fix the problem. 

"I'd like to see candidates from all major parties stepping up to fund additional crews for the North-West, and ensure community safety," he said.