No sport for firefighters

Wednesday, 27 July, 2005

Firefighters in Derbyshire county in central England have been banned from playing team sports during work breaks because they keep getting injured.

The fire and rescue service, which employs 480 full-time firefighters, said recently nearly 80 staff had been injured during volleyball and soccer matches in the yards of firestations over the past four years.

This had cost 1462 hours of working time - the equivalent of one less firefighter covering the Derbyshire area at any one time, the service said. "The lost time for that level of injury costs us in excess of £100,000, which is too much to ask (local) taxpayers to pay," said Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dominic Harrison, adding that other fire brigades have already banned team sports. "The senior officers have all played volleyball and the vast majority have enjoyed it, it's fun. But there comes a time when the level of injury is so high that it is sustainable." Unions said they may contest the ban, because sports are important for teambuilding, morale and fitness.

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