Suffolk prepared for fire strikes

Tonight's strike action by FBU members passed without major incident

Tonight's strike action by FBU members passed without major incident - Credit: Archant

Fire chiefs have said that Suffolk fire brigade is ready to protect the county during tonight's (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) night's strikes – but they will be operating a reduced service.

Senior officers within the county's fire and rescue service expect to have at least 21 of Suffolk's 35 fire stations available over the two four-hour Fire Brigade Union strike periods (6pm to 10pm).

Emergency 999 calls will continue to be answered as normal and the nearest available fire engines sent to emergencies. These will be crewed by fire-fighters not taking part in the strike action.

Deputy chief fire officer, Mark Sanderson, said: 'We continue to operate as usual for now, but this coming Friday and Saturday evenings we will implement our contingency cover between 6pm and 10pm. Normal service will be resumed as soon as each strike is finished.

'We will be operating a reduced service during the periods of strike action, but our focus will remain on protecting the people of Suffolk and those who visit our county.'

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Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for public protection, said: 'Because of the reduced number of fire engines that will be available, we are asking the public to be particularly careful and vigilant during the strike periods. We encourage people to be careful as the Christmas festivities approach and, understandably, greater numbers are participating in social activities.

'Simple common sense precautions such as testing your smoke alarm, keeping an eye on cooking, looking out for vulnerable neighbours and friends will reduce the risk of fires,' he added. 'When driving, we encourage people to take extra care, always wear a seatbelt, do not use a mobile phone while driving and do not drive when tired or after drinking. All of these will help reduce the risk of road collisions.'

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