The Isle of Wight Council is reassuring residents that its fire and rescue service will respond to life-critical incidents following the announcement of strike action by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) as a result of a national dispute.
The national FBU voted in favour of industrial action after it failed to reach an agreement with the government over pension reforms. It was announced yesterday (Tuesday) that its members will strike between noon and 16:00 next Wednesday (25th September).
During this time, fire cover will be maintained on the Island by non-FBU members who will attend life-critical incidents such as house fires or road traffic incidents. Fire control will not be affected by the strike and will be operating as normal – people should continue to dial 999 in an emergency.
The fire and rescue service will work in partnership with the other emergency services and partner agencies to respond to incidents. Each call will be assessed by the fire and rescue service and resources will be deployed as appropriate. Priority will be given to calls where lives are at risk, so in some cases, such as animal rescues or people trapped in lifts, resources may not be available to be deployed.
Householders and businesses are advised not to take unnecessary risks during periods of strike action and make preparations to reduce their chances of needing assistance from the fire and rescue service. This includes taking extra care when cooking or smoking, checking that smoke alarms are working and knowing what to do in an event of a fire and sharing this knowledge with others.
Owners of non-residential premises are also being reminded to prepare by ensuring their legislative duties, such as fire risk assessments and fire safety management, are up to date.
Councillor Phil Jordan, cabinet member for public protection said:
“Unfortunately this is a national strike and there is nothing we can do locally to prevent it going ahead. While I hope that the government and the FBU negotiate a satisfactory agreement so that strike action can be avoided, I would like to reassure residents that we have robust and up to date contingency plans in place to ensure life critical incidents are responded to by fully trained fire and rescue service officers.”
Steve Apter, Chief Fire Officer, said:
“I would ask members of the public and businesses to be extra vigilant during the strike action by checking fire safety arrangements and not taking unnecessary risks.”
Information about the Island’s fire and rescue service along with fire safety advice for homes and businesses can be found at www.iwight.com/fire