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'We can cope with strikes' says fire chief
1:52pm Friday 20th September 2013 in News
Wiltshire's Fire Authority chair has insisted Wednesday's planned strike action will not affect rescue services in the county.
All of Wiltshire’s full-time stations will be closed for four hours from midday as part of a national strike over pensions, with no service from the Chippenham station, as well as Trowbridge, Salisbury, Swindon, Stratton and Westlea.
Emergency fire cover will be put in place during the strike, but Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has urged businesses to take extra fire safety precautions.
Wiltshire councillor Graham Payne, the chairman of the Wiltshire and Swindon Combined Fire Authority, said: “We want to reassure the public that there are plans in place to combat the strikes. The retained firefighters will be providing cover along with other senior members.
“It will not be as complete of a service we normally provide but if there any major incidents the Fire Brigades Union have assured us that the firefighters would stop their strike.
“I would like to stress this is a national issue regarding pensions and at a local level we are prepared and believe we’ll cope.”
Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones urged businesses to take precautions to ensure alarms and fire detection systems are all in place.
He said: “During the industrial action, we will still be responding to 999 calls, but it may take us a little longer than usual to arrive and, with larger premises, we may send a smaller attendance than usual in the first instance.
“We would therefore urge those people responsible for the safety of commercial or public buildings to be extra vigilant and to review their fire risk assessments.”
Some of the county’s part-time stations may also be closed on Wednesday, with retained firefighters deciding whether to strike on the day.