Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to continue to keep each other safe during further strike action by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) tomorrow (Wednesday 13 November).
The national strike will take place between 10am and 2pm and will be the fourth strike undertaken by the FBU in the last two months over changes to the national pension scheme. All three previous strikes have passed without major incident in Norfolk.
While the fire service will continue to operate a 999 response service during Wednesday’s strike, calls will be prioritised as they come in if necessary and it is hoped that the public will continue to assist them by placing extra emphasis on their own safety. Each strike period has seen some fire stations close temporarily and reduced levels of countywide cover, and the fire service has put contingency plans in place to deal with incidents in the best way possible.
Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We’ve planned carefully for each period of strike action so far and our available resources have been able to meet the demand placed on them. I have to thank the public for being extra careful while the fire service has not been at full strength.
“We can’t afford to be complacent about this fresh strike and I would urge the public to be every bit as safety conscious on Wednesday as they have been so far. We will be prepared to deal with urgent situations, as we have been previously, but I would much rather emergencies didn’t arise and people’s safety wasn’t put at risk in the first place.”
Residents in Norfolk are being urged to take the following additional steps to reduce the threat of fire:
• Fit a smoke alarm and check it regularly.
• Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your house knows how to escape in the event of fire.
• Take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using thermostatically controlled deep fat fryers.
• Never leave lit candles unattended.
• Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully.
• Never smoke in bed.
• Keep matches and lighters away from children.
• Keep clothing away from heating appliances.
• Take care in the kitchen. Accidents whilst cooking account for 59% of fires in the home.
• Take special care when you are tired or when you’ve been drinking.
Businesses in Norfolk are also advised to be vigilant during the industrial action and consider the following key messages:
• Review your fire risk assessment and make sure it is current.
• Ask staff to be vigilant to the risk of fire and report any concerns.
• Check your fire detection system is working effectively and ensure everyone in the building understands what they need to do should it activate.
• Make sure fire fighting equipment works and everyone expected to use it knows how to do so safely.
• Make sure fire evacuation plans are in place and employees know what to do.
• Keep escape routes free from obstacles.
• Keep fire doors shut.
• Reduce fire hazards - keep sources of ignition away from flammable materials or substances.
• Avoid arson risks, such as rubbish left around.
• Delay activities if they have an increased risk of fire associated with them (e.g. hot cutting or hot works).
More safety advice and information about tomorrow and Monday’s strike action is available from the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service website at www.norfolkfireservice.gov.uk