Firefighters compensated for sickness caused by polluted Training Centre

66 firefighters awarded compensation after falling sick following flood training.

Members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) from around the UK have been awarded compensation after flood rescue training left them with stomach sickness.

The training sessions took place at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham between 2008 and 2012 after the UK government required all fire brigades to undertake ‘Swift Water Rescue Training’ in response to widespread flooding across the UK.

Several different fire brigades sent firefighters to take part in the training at Nottingham’s National Watersports Centre, which was able to replicate the fast-flowing water conditions of floods.

However, the water at the centre comes from the River Trent – a polluted water source that was found to contain harmful pathogens and bacteria. Due to the physically demanding nature of the training, many of the firefighters ingested the infected water, which caused them to suffer from diarrhoea and sickness.

Nearly all of the firefighters fell ill following the training, which led to the FBU to instruct personal injury solicitors to investigate the claims. The solicitors found that the water at the National Watersports Centre posed a public health risk and so were able to secure a compensation payout for the affected firefighters.

However, despite the compensation award the centre still put on training days for other fire brigades and between 2009 and 2012 even more firefighters attended the centre and suffered the same ill effects.

One of the affected firefighters, Jason Sherwin, from Sheffield, said:

I was very sick for four days, and some of my colleagues were ill for much longer. It’s disgraceful that they let us all suffer like that, knowing that it was the training centre water causing it.

Tam McFarlane, executive council member of the South West FBU said:

Despite the overwhelming numbers of attendees becoming sick, and the expert evidence obtained by Thompsons Solicitors in the original case, Brigades continued to put my colleagues at risk of illness.

Rather than accepting their mistakes, bosses have fought every claim in full, wasting vast sums of taxpayer’s money on legal defence fees that should be spent protecting the public. We’re very grateful to Thompsons for securing compensation for every member affected.



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