Public urged to ‘take extra care’ during planned firefighters strikes over festive periodPosted 18/12/2013 14:10:36
The Chief Fire Officer of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is once again 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 over the festive period on;
- Christmas Eve, Tuesday 24th December between 7.00pm and midnight
- New Year's Eve, Tuesday 31st December from 6.30pm until 12.30am the following morning
- Friday 3rd January from 630am until 8.30am
Chief Fire Officer,Simon Smith, stressed: "The Fire Brigades Union has chosen to strike at Christmas and New Year when the risk to people's safety is inherently more significant - as people are likely to be out socialising and drinking or cooking at home entertaining family and friends.
"Over the festive period calls to the fire and rescue service are at their peak - on average North Wales Fire and Rescue Service attends between one to two fires within the home every day, but at Christmas and New Year this rises to up to 5 fires in a day.
"Attention to fire safety in the home, as well as road safety, is therefore of even more importance during this time.
"The call for people to be extra vigilant and to think more carefully about the situations they may be putting themselves into is therefore a very serious one. Regrettably it is likely that during the strike period we won't be able to respond as we normally would - prevention is best, so we are asking everyone to take these simple steps to ensure their safety and those of loved ones;
- Ensure you have a smoke alarm and test that it is in working order
- Do not mix drinking and cooking - our experience proves it really can be a recipe for disaster. Everyone enjoys a festive tipple but be responsible and do not leave cooking unattended. If you are hungry after a night out, 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, including your Christmas lights and TV, and close all doors - make sure you have an escape plan in the event of fire
- Ensure you extinguish smoking materials and take extra care with candles - they may look nice but they can put you at higher risk, so do not leave them unattended or place them near anything flammable
- 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."
Safety advice and guidance for the public and businesses is available on the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk and social network sites on Facebook www.facebook.com/Northwalesfireservice and Twitter @NorthWalesFire (#takeextracare), as well as through the local news.
Everyone likes to enjoy themselves in the run up to the festive period but members of the public are urged to keep safety in mind while celebrating by following follow the simple Christmas safety tips which are also available on the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website and social networking sites.
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 OfficerSimon Smithreassured 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 inEnglandandWalesover 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.