Wiltshire fire chief urges residents to take extra care during firefighters' strike (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Wiltshire fire chief urges residents to take extra care during firefighters' strike
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service remains confident it will cope when firefighters across the county strike tomorrow night.
The Fire Brigade’s Union has called a five-hour walkout from 6.30pm to 11.30pm, which will see the county’s six full-time stations closed in protest over national pension reform plans.
Firefighters at Trowbridge, Chippenham, Swindon, Stratton, Salisbury and Westlea are all due to strike, along with colleagues at several part-time stations in the county, which are likely to include Melksham, Warminster, Pewsey and Calne.
The strike will also mean no fire engine will be available to take its tradition place at the front of tomorrow night’s Trowbridge Carnival.
During the strike the service will provide a reduced emergency response, and has urged the public to take extra care during the six-hour period.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones said: “While the industrial action is on-going, we will still respond to 999 calls but it may take us a little longer than usual to arrive. We would therefore urge everyone to take extra care to stay safe, which will hopefully reduce the number of calls we receive.”
Cover will be provided by the service’s remaining crews, with back-up fire engines positioned in Melksham and Warminster.
Brent Thorley, FBU brigade secretary for Wiltshire, said: “Every time we go out we are asking the government to talk to us. There has been a bit of movement, but nothing solid enough to call it off, but there is still time for that to change.
“There will be a picket in Swindon, and hopefully one in Warminster as well, where the firefighters from Trowbridge and Salisbury are hoping to go to show their support.
“Whether we have any more strikes will depend on what happens; we hope they don’t go on any longer, but we mean what we say. The government still has time to listen to us, but if not, there will be more strikes.”
Meanwhile, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue has issued the following top tips to help people to stay safe during the strike:
• If you’re going out on Saturday night, take five minutes to unplug unused electrical items, make sure no sockets are overloaded, close all internal doors and test your smoke alarms.
• Make these checks before you go to bed if you stay in for the night – and make sure you and anyone else in the property knows how to get out in the event of a fire.
• Avoid leaving cooking unattended, especially if you’ve been drinking or are on medication. If you've been drinking, it's much safer to get a takeaway than to cook while under the influence of alcohol.
• If you smoke, dispose of cigarettes carefully and don’t smoke in bed. Ideally, smoke outside as this reduces the risk of fire.
• Be careful if you decide to light candles or tea lights – left unattended, these can easily lead to fires starting.
• Don’t have a bonfire – a large proportion of the false alarms attended by the Fire & Rescue Service are to controlled burning.
• Businesses should check their fire risk assessments and ensure that any staff members working on Saturday night are fully briefed on what to do if an emergency happens.
• If you’re out on the roads, drive to the speed limit and to the conditions – it’s better to get there a few minutes late than not at all.
• If you do have a fire during the strike period, Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999 – the Fire & Rescue Service will respond.
Comments are closed on this article.