Ryde crew fills Busby's fire station gap

BUSBY Fire Station was left unmanned for several hours last Friday while a crew from Ryde made their way down to Sydney's south-west to man the shop.

The closure follows state funding cuts that could see up to 20 stations across the state closed on any given day.

NSW Fire and Rescue policy is to close stations when staff are sick or absent, or when they do not have the mandatory number of crew members available.

A spokeswoman for Police and Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallagher said the operational decision to take some stations "offline" had been in practice for about 100 years, and the policy was not made or implemented by the state government.

"It is not up to the state government as to which stations go offline," she said.

"All departments have been given directive to make budget cuts. How they do that is up to them. No direction has been given from the state government as to how those cuts should be made."

Liverpool MP Paul Lynch said it was not ideal to have to rely on other stations during the fire season, which in turn could compromise community safety.

"This situation represents a real issue of local safety," he said.

"Busby fire station remained closed for at least an hour while a crew was being dragged in from the northern suburbs, if there was a fire during that time, we would have had a big problem.

"This problem is primarily the result of budget cuts, they keep trying to fix it with a Band-Aid solution but at some stage that is going to fall a part very badly."

A spokeswoman for Fire and Rescue NSW said community safety was not compromised during the closure and response times were unaffected.

Other fire stations in Sydney's south-west remained operational with sufficient resources to cover fires and other emergencies.

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