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Fire crews on strike
8:20am Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
THE fire service has warned households and businesses to take extra precautions with fire safety on Wednesday during the national strike.
Between noon and 4pm all members will go on strike in a row over retirement ages.
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said it has adequate resources available to cover any callouts, but it may take slightly longer than normal to arrive.
There are a number of fire crew who are not in the Fire Brigades Union and will not be striking.
The services of retained firefighters, who are not full-time but can respond to incidents, will also be called upon.
But because the crews will be coming from a different area, such as Cricklade, there is a risk they could be delayed.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones said: “During the industrial action we will still be responding to 999 calls, but it may take us a little longer than usual to arrive and, with larger premises, we may send a smaller attendance than usual in the first instance.
“We would therefore urge those people responsible for the safety of commercial or public buildings to be extra vigilant and to review their fire risk assessments.”
The service is keen to stress that the strike will not increase the likelihood of a fire and most premises should already have safety procedures in place.
“Such risk assessments are required in law, so should already be in place,” said Mr Routh-Jones.
“However, we would recommend that all fire safety measures are checked so that they continue to be adequate and appropriate, and both fire alarm and fire suppression systems should be checked to ensure that they work properly.”
A number of tips have been offered to businesses to help them during the strike period.
All employees should be fully trained in using firefighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers, safely and all rubbish should be cleared away correctly to reduce the chances of arson.
The fire service has said during a strike it will only respond to automated alarms that have been verified by a 999 call, so if there is an incident then somebody should call the emergency line.
The strike was called by the FBU following a disagreement over a change to working practices. The Government wants to increase the retirement age of firefighters to 60 but the union says many are not able to safely tackle fires at that age.
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