Laois Fire Service denies claim that Port's new traffic lights are delaying emergency response times
New traffic lights in Portarlington are not causing any significant delays, according to the head of the Laois County Fire & Rescue Service.
Chief Fire Officer Declan Power has said the response time for Portarlington Fire Station is faster than the national average.
He has made a statement following a claim made at a public meeting about the traffic lights by the Portarlington station officer.
"Laois County Council wishes to reassure the people of Portarlington and its surrounding areas that, contrary to a recent report published in the Leinster Express, the recently installed traffic lights in Portarlington are not causing any significant delays in fire service turnout," he said.
In a statement, he points to a difference of only eight seconds since the lights were installed.
"The average turnout time for the Portarlington Unit of Laois County Fire & Rescue Service in September 2017, prior to the installation of the traffic lights at Crowe Lane / Main Street, was 4 minutes and 48 seconds respectively. The average turnout time for the Portarlington Unit of Laois County Fire & Rescue Service in September 2018, subsequent to the installation of the traffic lights was 4 minutes and 56 seconds.
"The National Oversight & Audit Commission’s (NOAC), Local Authority Performance Indictor Report 2017, published in September 2018, records an average mobilisation time of 5 minutes 31 secs nationally to fire service turnouts. Portarlington, with an average turnout time of 4 minutes 56 secs, is performing significantly better than the national average, even with the installation of the new traffic lights" said Mr Power.
Last Wednesday at a public meeting over the controversial traffic lights, Station Officer Tony Whelan said that the response times have gone from five minutes to 15, calling it a "life threatening" situation.