Plans in place as strike could see half of Norfolk’s fire stations close
PUBLISHED: 18:33 10 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:33 10 June 2014
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service says contingency plans are in place for when around half of the county’s fire stations close temporarily as members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) stage two further strikes this month.
Two new dates have been announced meaning industrial action will take place from 9am on Thursday, June 12, until 9am on Friday, June 13, and then from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 21.
The strike action is being undertaken by Norfolk FBU firefighter members due to a national dispute between the government and the FBU over changes to the pension scheme.
The fire and rescue service will continue to operate a 999 response service during all of the periods of strike action and should be contacted in the usual way. If necessary, calls will be prioritised as they come in and it is hoped that the public will continue to assist them by placing extra emphasis on their own safety.
During the periods of industrial action, there will be reduced levels of cover and around half of fire stations will be closed temporarily.
Nigel Williams, chief fire officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We will continue to operate the best service we possibly can, however, it is inevitable that the industrial action will put additional demand on the service.
“We have been carefully planning since the last strikes which took place over the festive period. Therefore, we believe we are prepared to deal with incidents in the best way possible.
“The level of response available from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service during any period of industrial action doesn’t affect the likelihood of a fire happening in your home, a workplace or other premises. So I would urge members of the public to be extra vigilant and take all necessary precautions during this time.”
Paul Smyth, chairman of the communities committee at Norfolk County Council, said: “In previous bouts of industrial action, we have had a positive response from the public who have clearly been vigilant and taken safety messages on board. I hope for a similar response this time.
“We have good contingency arrangements in place and the public can feel assured that emergency calls will be answered.”
While the risk of fire remains unchanged, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is advising communities to remain extra vigilant and follow all relevant fire safety advice:
• Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home
• Test your smoke alarms regularly
• Never leave lit candles or cooking unattended
• Put cigarettes out – right out
• Plan your escape route – and make sure all your family know it
• Make sure you don’t overload electrical sockets and watch out for faulty electrical equipment
• Treat all flammable materials with care – both using and storing them
• Do not leave bonfires or BBQs unattended
• Take extra care when travelling on or near our roads.
In addition, the service is urging all businesses to consider the following key messages during periods of industrial action:
• Review your fire risk assessment and make sure it is current
• Check your fire detection
• Make sure escape plans are in place and employees know what to do
• Avoid arson risks, such as rubbish left around
• Delay activities if they have an increased risk of fire associated with them (e.g. hot cutting or hot works)
More information can be found on the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service website at: www.norfolkfireservice.gov.uk