Fire Chief Urges Public To “Think Twice” During Firefighters’ Strike

Shropshire’s chief fire officer is urging the public to think carefully before dialling 999 during a 24-hour strike by firefighters due to begin on Wednesday morning (Feb 25).

John Redmond says contingency plans are in place that will enable Shropshire Fire and Rescue to deliver as normal a service as possible but says the public can help by dialling 999 only if they have a real emergency.

“Our contingency plans are focussed on providing a service that is as near normal as possible during this industrial action and our top priority will be to respond to calls where a life may be in danger or urgent rescue is needed. The public can help us do that by asking themselves if they have a real emergency before dialling 999,” John Redmond said.

Wednesdays’ 24 hour strike by members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) begins at 7am and is the latest action in a long-running dispute between the FBU and central government over proposed changes to firefighters’ pensions and retirement rules.

The FBU has said other action “short of a strike” will also run at the same time but union leaders have so far released no details about the kind of action this might be.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue has 23 fire stations across the county and the strike will predominately affect “whole-time” fire stations in Shrewsbury and Telford. The SFRS’s 19 “on-call” fire stations are staffed by part-time crews and are much less likely to be affected by Wednesday’s industrial action.

Part-time crews not involved in the dispute will staff two additional fire engines to provide extra protection in Shrewsbury and Telford during the 24 hour stoppage.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue has issued a ten point plan for safety at home, at work and on the road:

Check smoke alarms to make sure they are working

Make sure your family know what to do to escape from a fire in your home

Most domestic fires start in the kitchen so take extra care and don’t leave pans unattended

Avoid late night cooking sessions after drinking alcohol

Turn off electric appliances and power points after use

Keep matches and cigarette lighters away from children

Check your car tyres regularly

Don’t use a mobile phone while driving. It’s dangerous and illegal

Close internal doors to stop fire spreading

Businesses: Service your alarm systems regularly to avoid false alarms.

19th February, 2015