Witshire firefighters to strike again this weekend

Wiltshire Times: Chief fire officer Simon Routh-Jones Chief fire officer Simon Routh-Jones

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is finalising its contingency plans to deal with further strikes by firefighters this weekend.

Members of the Fire Brigades' Union (FBU) will be walking out between 6pm and 10pm on Friday and Saturday, as part of its on-going dispute with the Government over pension reforms.

Personnel at the wholetime fire stations at Trowbridge, Chippenham, Swindon, Stratton, Westlea and Salisbury are expected to be unavailable for fire calls.

The on-call stations at Warminster, Melksham, Calne and Pewsey will also be on strike.

The service has established a range of plans in order to maintain fire cover across the county, which will include crews responding from alternative locations. On-call stations unaffected by the strike should also be providing fire cover as usual on both dates.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones said: “These will be the fifth and sixth walkouts by members of the Fire Brigades’ Union since September, and it is frustrating that the two sides in this national dispute have not been able to reach any sort of agreement.

"As on previous occasions, we will be making every effort to provide the best possible fire cover for the communities of Wiltshire and Swindon, but we will be operating with reduced resources and this will have an effect.

“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 are now getting into Christmas party season, so we really need 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

• Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, candles, cards and wrapping paper

• 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

• Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking

• If you smoke, make sure cigarettes are fully extinguished. Take particular care when you’re tired or been drinking, as it’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning

• Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed or leave the house. Check your lights conform to British Standard BS EN 60598

• Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of a fire – get out, stay out, call 999

• If you’re out on the roads, drive to the conditions and never drive if you’ve been drinking. Remember, it’s better to arrive a few minutes late than not arrive at all

For further safety advice, visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk

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