Members of the public are being reminded to take extra care during the upcoming fire strike period– particularly as it covers a time when Halloween and early Guy Fawkes Night activities will be taking place.
As previously reported, members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are staging a further four days of industrial action between Friday 31st October and Tuesday 4th November. Firefighters will walk out from 18:00 on Friday and return at 18:00 on Tuesday in the continuing row over pension reforms.
Vigilance and all necessary precautions are urged when dealing with fireworks and bonfires – and people are encouraged, if possible, to go to an organised event due to the reduced fire service cover during the period.
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 the event of a fire and sharing this knowledge with others.
During the period of strike action, 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 and people should continue to dial 999 in an emergency.
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. 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
Bonfire and firework safety information and advice can be found at http://www.iwight.com/Residents/Fire-and-Rescue-Service/Business-Fire-Safety/Fireworks-and-Bonfires2
Steve Apter, chief fire officer of the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“This latest period of strike action is in a four-day block and is the longest period we have had to deal with so far. As with previous periods of action, contingency arrangements are in place to provide fire and rescue services on the Island, although cover will be limited.
“We would urge people to take the utmost care during this period and to familiarise themselves with the key advice available via iwight.com and national fire safety websites.
“In particular, for activities involving bonfires and fireworks, we are keen that people attend properly organised events and avoid small home-based events.”
Councillor Phil Jordan, Executive member for public protection, added:
“It is disappointing that the government and FBU have failed to negotiate a satisfactory agreement which is resulting in further strike action – especially as this time it is for four days and during a key period.
“It is vital this dispute is resolved as soon as possible, as this situation is having an ongoing impact on our resilience and responsiveness. I remain confident and assured, however, that the contingencies in place are well planned and effective even though emergency cover may well be limited. I urge our residents to be extra careful and extra safety conscious during the entire period of the strike to reduce the necessity of having to call upon our emergency services at this very testing time.”