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Firefighters in England say 100-hour weeks to pay bills are ‘gamble with safety’

Emergency service at ‘breaking point’ as union ballots over 2% pay offer

Firefighters are taking second jobs and working up to 100 hours a week to make ends meet, leading to growing concerns that an increasingly exhausted workforce is resulting in a “gamble with public safety”.

Firefighters across the country told the Observer that the service was at “breaking point” with more crew than ever being forced to take jobs such as personal trainers, painters and decorators or in warehouses. Wages in the fire service are often about £30,000 but can be as low as £23,000.

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