Commenting, Mr Storey said:
‘‘Across Northern Ireland firefighters regularly put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. We owe it to them to ensure that the Fire and Rescue Service has the right tools and resources to do the job.
Any cost-cutting measures - but particularly the loss of crew cover or appliances - would have a direct and indiscriminate impact on levels of service right across the community. Every available avenue must be explored to ensure NIFRS can retain the capacity and flexibility it needs to respond to both routine and critical incidents.
We have to recognise that many of the challenges facing the Service are the result of a decade of under-investment and the absence of a long-term plan for recruitment. These are failings that the current Health Minister cannot wash his hands of. There is a real and pressing need for practical solutions to current pressures which prevent wholesale changes to current services and places NIFRS on stable operational footing going forward.
I have written to the Minister to raise these concerns and will continue to campaign for local firefighters and control staff to get the recognition and support that they deserve.’’