Take extra care this New Year's Eve urges fire service ahead of strike action

Gazette Series: Take extra care this New Year's Eve urges fire service ahead of strike action Take extra care this New Year's Eve urges fire service ahead of strike action

AVON Fire and Rescue Service is urging revellers to take extra care to prevent fires and other emergencies as firefighters take part in industrial action on New Year’s Eve.

In an on-going dispute with the Government over pensions, the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) has announced that firefighters will walk out for six hours from 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 31 until 12.30am on Wednesday, January 1.

The organisation said that during the strike, a skeleton service will operate from six strategic locations.

Fire cover will be 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 AF&RS will be prioritising calls to emergencies where there is a risk to life.

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.

“As this latest strike is planned at a time when many people will be holding New Year celebrations I would encourage everyone to take extra precautions and put in place plans to protect themselves and their families against fire. It is good practice anytime, but it is particularly important during a period when our emergency response capability will be reduced."

He added: “Accidents do happen but it is possible to reduce the risk and the impact of a fire in your home by taking extra care not to leave cooking unattended, making sure you check smoke alarms are working and rehearsing escape routes with the whole family and guests.

“Business owners and managers should also be aware of their responsibilities to staff and customers under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

“Although we will be prioritising calls our advice remains the same - if you have a fire you should get out, stay out and call 999.”

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