People are being urged to be extra vigilant during the firefighters’ four day strike in Shropshire which starts at 6pm on Friday.(October 31)
The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) is involved in a protracted dispute over plans to make firefighters’ work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and get less in retirement.
Telford and Shrewsbury will be affected as members of the FBU are called to take strike action from Friday evening until Tuesday at 6pm with a scheduled return to work in time for bonfire night.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton assured the Shropshire public that the Fire Service would be able to respond as normal in the event of an emergency due to contingency arrangements that had been put in place. But he stressed the need for everyone to take extra care during the strike.
“It is the longest period of strike action yet and this will test the resilience plans of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service but we are prepared and if anyone calls in an emergency we will respond,” said Mr Hammerton.
The county’s on-call firefighters, who provide fire cover across rural parts of the county and are not involved in the dispute, will crew two extra fire engines to provide more protection in Telford and Shrewsbury during the strike.
“Senior managers of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are unable to affect the outcome of this dispute because it is between the FBU and Central Government but we do hope to see a resolution as soon as possible.
“At this time our focus is on providing fire and rescue cover for our communities and I am confident our plans can do that. However I do urge the public to be extra vigilant with their own safety, particularly at a time when many of us are enjoying bonfire night celebrations,” added Mr Hammerton.
He advised people to look at the firework safety code on the brigade's website: www.shropshirefire.gov.uk
Other fire safety advice includes at least one smoke alarm on each floor of a house to give people time to escape in the event of a fire. Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a ten point plan for safety around the house, at work, and on the road.
Make sure your smoke alarm works
All the family must know what to do to escape from a fire in their home.
Cooking causes most fires – take extra care in the kitchen and don’t leave pans unattended.
Avoid late night cooking sessions after drinking alcohol – eat out
Close internal doors to avoid fire spreading
Turn off electrics when not in use
Keep matches away from children
Ensure your car tyres are regularly checked
Don’t text or call while driving
If you run a business – ensure your alarm detection equipment is serviced and does not go off unnecessarily.