Update: Norfolk firefighters on strike today
07:25 02 May 2014
Fire chiefs have reassured people in Norfolk that contingency plans are in place as firefighters begin strike action today.
Fire chiefs issued the following 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
• Avoid bonfires
• Take extra care with BBQs
The service is also urging businesses to: • 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)
Members of the Fire Brigades Union are striking as part of nationwide action in protest at proposed government changes to firefighters’ pensions.
Industrial action started at midday today and will continue until 5pm. It will resume from 2pm until 2am tomorrow and from 10am until 3pm on Sunday.
About half the fire stations in Norfolk are temporarily shut and there is reduced fire service cover.
Bosses at Norfolk Fire and Rescue said the service is continuing to operate a 999 response service during all of the periods of strike action and should be contacted in the usual way.
They said, if necessary, calls will be prioritised as they come in and urged the public to place “extra emphasis on their own safety”.
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.”
Dan Roper, cabinet member for public protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “In the previous periods of industrial action we have had a very positive response from the public who have clearly been vigilant and taken safety messages on board. I would 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.”