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Further fire strike called as bonfires are lit
11:53am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
A further two-day fire strike has been announced for later this week, as Wiltshire prepares to celebrate Bonfire Night.
The Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) has announced that, as part of its on-going national dispute with the Government over pension reforms, its members will be walking out between 6.30pm and 11pm on Friday November 1, and then between 6am and 8am on Monday November 4.
As a result, it is anticipated that personnel at the whole-time fire stations at Trowbridge, Chippenham, Swindon, Stratton, Westlea and Salisbury will be unavailable for fire calls.
The on-call stations at Calne, Warminster, Melksham and Pewsey will also be on strike.
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has established a range of plans in order to maintain fire cover across the county, which will include crews responding from alternative locations in Swindon, Warminster, Melksham and Salisbury.
On-call stations unaffected by the strike should also be providing fire cover as usual on both dates.
A four-hour strike was held on September 25, when picket lines were set up in Trowbridge and Chippenham. A second strike was planned for five hours on Saturday night, October 19, but was called off with a day to go.
Wiltshire’s chief fire officer Simon Routh-Jones said: “Given that a strike in mid October was cancelled at the last minute because progress was being made in talks to resolve the national dispute between the FBU and the Government, it is very disappointing that further action is being taken already.
“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.
“With both Bonfire Night and Diwali likely to be celebrated this weekend, it’s even more important than normal for people to take extra care.”
Some top tips on staying safe this weekend:
• Always make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them every week
• Don’t use fireworks at home – attend an organised event. If you’ve already bought fireworks, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure you know the fireworks code
• Avoid having a bonfire at home – these can get out of control very easily
• If you must have a bonfire, NEVER use flammable liquids such as paraffin or petrol to light it, and make sure you have a water supply to hand in case the fire begins to spread
• Candles are an important part of Diwali celebrations – don’t leave lit candles unattended, make sure they are kept away from flammable materials such as curtains, and always extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the house
• As the weather is getting colder, you might want to light the fire at home – if you do, make sure you’ve had the chimney swept and always use a fireguard