Firefighters to join public sector strikes - public urged to ‘take extra care’Posted 03/07/2014 14:10:36
The Chief Fire Officer of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is renewing a plea for 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 next week on Thursday 10th July.
The dispute over firefighters' pensions will see a further day of strikes between 10am and 7pm on the same day as coordinated industrial action planned by local government workers, teachers and civil servants across the UK over a range of issues involving pay, pensions and workloads.
Chief Fire Officer, Simon Smith, stressed: "This time we will see firefighters joining other public sector workers, which will include some additional members of fire and rescue service staff, in a broader coordinated dispute which is expected to create more wide scale impact. This will further increase the level of risk to the public, and the need for people to be extra vigilant about their safety is even greater.
"I would like to thank the public for their cooperation in heeding our messages during previous firefighters strikes which clearly made a difference to the demand on our services and I would ask for the same level of cooperation once again - there is no room for complacency as firefighters join with other public sector workers, and the emphasis on taking extra care is even greater than before.
"As this strike coincides with a day of action by other workers across the UK from a variety of different unions and will also be at a time when the risk to people's safety will be more significant as they are likely to be travelling to and from work and cooking their evening meal - this makes attention to fire safety in and around the home, as well as road safety, even more important.
"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 leave cooking unattended and avoid mixing cooking with drinking alcohol.
* 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.
* Business owners should undertake a review of their Fire Risk Assessment before the strike and ensure that procedures for reducing the chance of a fire starting are understood by all staff.
* Never use any flammable liquids to start or revive a barbecue, do not leave a barbeque unattended and always allow embers to cool before disposal.
* Switch off any unused electrical appliances before you go to bed, including your 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 naked flames.
* Grass fires can spread quickly during dry weather, putting lives and property at serious risk so avoid using naked flames when out and about and dispose of smoking materials with care.
* Remember setting fires deliberately is a crime for which you can be prosecuted - if you have any information about a deliberate fire please call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
* If a fire does start - get out, stay out and call 999. Don't be tempted to tackle a fire yourself."
- Safety advice on all the above and additional 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).
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 all those 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 and 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.
Additional strikes are also scheduled to take place on the following dates:
Monday 14 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm
Tuesday 15 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm
Wednesday 16 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm
Thursday 17 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm
Friday 18 July: 6am-8am and 11pm-1am on Saturday 19
Saturday 19 July: 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am on Sunday 20 July
Sunday 20 July: 5pm-7pm
Monday 21 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm