County's fire service prepared as national strike announced
4:54pm Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
RESIDENTS in Gloucestershire are being reassured that a professional fire and rescue service will be maintained in the county despite today’s announcement that a national strike will be held.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) balloted its members for industrial action over national pension arrangements, with a strike date now planned for Wednesday, September 25, from noon to 4pm.
Although the dispute is outside the control of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, some firefighters in the county are members of the FBU and could support the strike.
During the industrial action, a reduced emergency response service will be provided, but local people and businesses are being assured that a significant contingency plan is in place to offer them the best protection possible.
Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall said: “Our planning assumption is that some of our fire stations won’t be operational during the proposed action. But we have substantial contingency plans in place with the majority of our retained fire stations due to be operational and non-striking staff based at further back-up stations in the county.
“We want to reassure local people that, for those staff that aren’t part of the strike, it’s business as usual. As ever, we will endeavour to ensure people get the fire and rescue service they deserve.
"The contingency plan may mean a slightly less speedy response to some areas, and residents are being reminded of the importance of keeping their own homes safe from fire.
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “This is a national strike and not one we can do anything about, however we can make sure that the county is fully prepared and that’s why very thorough plans are in place for the period being discussed.
“We ask that families do everything they can to make sure they’re safe in their own homes. It is as important as ever that people are aware of how best to stay safe from fires and what to do in case of an emergency.”
Residents are also being encouraged to avoid making unnecessary 999 calls.
During times of industrial action the priority for crews is those incidents where a life is at risk or someone needs to be rescued.
More than ever, it is important people only call the emergency number if they really need a fire engine.
Further arrangements have been made for potential large-scale incidents, including sharing resources of neighbouring services.
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