Firefighters' second strike to leave services "reduced" in region
AS firefighters in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire get set to strike for the second time in a month, their respective services are asking residents to take extra care.
People living in the two counties are being asked to make sure they do their utmost to reduce the risk of fire in their homes and businesses following the confirmation of a national strike by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
In an on-going dispute with the Government over pensions, the FBU has announced a five-hour walkout on Saturday, October 19 from 6.30pm to 11.30pm.
During the strike, a skeleton service will operate from six strategic locations across the Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AFRS) area, including South Gloucestershire, with cover provided in the main by firefighters who are not part of the FBU.
They will work alongside a small number of auxiliary firefighters who have received training to provide basic support to fully qualified crews.
Due to the reduced service AFRS will be prioritising calls to emergencies where there is a risk to life.
AFRS chief fire officer Kevin Pearson said: “This is a national dispute over which Avon Fire Authority has no control. Although we have contingency arrangements in place, the reality is we will not be in a position to provide the excellent emergency response we usually do.
“In the lead up to and during the strike I would ask local people to take steps to ensure their homes and businesses are as safe as possible.
“Although it’s good practice at anytime, it’s particularly important during a period when our emergency response capability will be reduced.”
Mr Pearson added that people should still call 999 if there is a fire.
As part of the reduced service in Gloucestershire, several stations will close during the industrial action.
Gloucestershire County Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “This is a national strike and not one we can do anything about, however we can make sure that the county is fully prepared and that’s why very thorough plans are in place for the period being discussed.
“We ask that residents do everything they can to make sure they’re safe in their own homes. It is as important as ever that people are aware of how best to stay safe from fires and what to do in case of an emergency.”
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