Communities urged to ‘take extra care’ during latest planned firefighters strikes

Posted 28/10/2013 14:10:36

The Chief Fire Officer of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public across the region to 'take extra care' at home and on the roads following the Fire Brigades Union's announcement that firefighters in England and Wales will take further industrial action on Friday 1st November between 6.30pm and 11.00pm and Monday 4th November between 6am and 8am.

Chief Fire Officer, Simon Smith, stressed: "Attention to fire safety in the home and road safety is of paramount importance, but even more so during these times.

"The Fire Brigades Union has chosen to strike at times of the day when the risk to people's safety is inherently more significant. On a Friday evening, people are likely to be out socialising and drinking or cooking at home entertaining family and friends, and a Monday morning will see people out travelling on the roads on their way to work or school.

"Of particular concern to us at this time of year of course is the likelihood, especially on a Friday evening, that members of the public may be out celebrating bonfire night which again increases the risk to safety.

"I am therefore urging people to be extra vigilant and to think more carefully about the situations they may be putting themselves into. Historically these are times when calls to the fire and rescue service are at their peak and regrettably it is likely that during the strike period we won't be able to respond as we normally would - prevention is best, so take these simple steps to ensure your safety and those of your loved ones;

  • Ensure you have a smoke alarm and test that it is in working order
  • Do not mix drinking and cooking - it's a recipe for disaster. If you are hungry get a takeaway or make a sandwich.

  • Do not get the chip pan out or leave cooking unattended

  • Avoid any unnecessary journeys and pay particular attention to road safety  - if you are unfortunate enough to be in a collision we may not be able to get there to help you as quickly as we normally would

  • Switch off any unused electrical appliances before you go to bed and close all doors - make sure you have an escape plan in the event of fire

  • Ensure you extinguish smoking materials and take care with candles
  • Get your chimney cleaned and use a fire guard on open fires

  • If a fire does start - get out, stay out and call 999. Don't be tempted to tackle a fire yourself.

"The best advice we can give for safe bonfire celebrations is that you attend an organised event rather than risking your own safety by having your own bonfire or fireworks display - please visit our website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk to access a list of bonfire displays in your area. However, if you are planning to use fireworks or organise a bonfire at home, please ensure that you avoid alcohol and follow the guidelines on our website."

Safety advice and guidance for the public and businesses is available on the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website and social network sites on Facebook and Twitter(#takeextracare), as well as through the local news.

The number of firefighters from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service expected to make a protest by striking is high and will result in a reduction in the resources available. As a consequence, the fire and rescue service will not be able to provide the same high level of response as it normally would - it will continue to respond to emergency calls by prioritising the deployment of the available resources at its disposal and focussing on the protection of life

Chief Fire Officer Simon Smith reassured the public "North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has arrangements in place to continue to provide a service during strike action" but warned that, "because of the circumstances, services may be limited."

"The Service's business continuity arrangements will ensure a speedy and safe return to normal services on conclusion of any period of industrial action."

Councillor Meirick Lloyd Davies, Chairman of North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "Whilst we understand the concerns of staff which have led to their decision to make a protest in this way, we have a duty and an obligation to ensure that the provision of services remains as unaffected as reasonably practicable. This is a dispute between the Fire Brigade's Union and the Government in England and Wales over proposed changes to pension arrangements. However our number one priority is to ensure public safety."

Members of the public who may need to call the fire and rescue service regarding a non-urgent matter during a period of industrial action are requested to consider waiting until strike action ends to make that call.

 

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