"Charred-dog" hoax is insult to senior firefighters


Press Release
Eric Pickles condemns "charred-dog" hoax as insult to senior firefighters

From: Department for Communities and Local Government and The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
First published: 26 March 2015. Online version here.
Part of: Firefighting Training Standards and Fire Brigades Reform

Secretary of State calls for legal action against perpetrators of internet hoax, defends Department's retirement age decision based on Williams Report.


Communities Secretary Eric Pickles condemned a hoax video circulating on the internet, which purported to show firefighters losing control of a hose during a showcase firefight, resulting in an injury to a spectator's dog.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

"This hoax video is deeply offensive, and seems like a disingenuous attempt to engender distrust for the increase of the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60.

"In 2012, the government-commissioned Williams Report made clear that fully one third of firefighters between the ages of 55 and 60 are fit to perform firefighting functions as competently as those much younger. Although we did not publicise this study at the time, we are doing so today in order to reassure the public.

"We would also like to point out that a real DCLG showcase event would have included adequate supervision of these firefighters, making such a mishap impossible.

"Fire officers perform fire extinctions, car extractions, ice and water rescues, and other life-saving activities in an effective manner regardless of their age, as against the slanderous message of the hoax video. Furthermore, they regularly rescue vulnerable animals from hazardous situations, so to depict them causing injury to a dog is all the more appalling. We intend to pursue those responsible to the fullest extent permitted by law."

Marcus Dunbar-Hemberton, Historian for the Department of Communities and Local Government, said:

"Many people may not realise that in 1925, the national retirement age for firefighters was established at 60. This was reduced to 55 in 1973, and to 50 in 1992. Raising the age to 60 simply returns this milestone to its 1925 level."

Further Information

The Williams Report can be found here. Read more about the firefighter retirement age debate here.

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