A fire station has been built without the traditional pole because of fears that firefighters could sprain their ankles as they hit the ground.
Senior managers at the three-storey station decided it was safer for them to run down two flights of stairs.
Officials blamed health and safety regulations and space constraints for the move.
Firefighters said they were "flabbergasted" that the Â£2.4 million station, in Greenbank, Plymouth, had abandoned the tradition.
"It is ludicrous," said Ken Mulville, the station officer. "It takes about a second and a half to slide down the pole, as opposed to 15 or 20 seconds to run down two flights of stairs. Seconds can be critical when responding to a 999 call."
Bernard Hughes, the chairman of Devon Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "There have been a number of injuries when firefighters have slipped on poles and damaged their ankles and knees when they hit the floor."
But Mr Mulville said: "It is really sad. We used to have school visits and let the children go down the poles, but that stopped a few years ago.
"In more than 30 years I have seen one or two accidents with poles, compared with tens of accidents with people tripping on stairs while responding to incidents."
This happened years ago at a RAF training establishment just outside Weston-super-Mare (now sadly closed). It all came to light when 1 of the lads ended up in the med centre with a large grill burned into his back. About 10 ACs ended up facing having the book thrown at them when 1 of them mentioned that there wasn't actually a sign saying they weren't allowed to do it.
Case dismissed, sign on the wall next day. End of.