Resilience plans have been put in place to ensure Cambridgeshire has fire cover during bouts of industrial action over the holiday period.
Thanks to the dedication of managers at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, back up plans have been instated so residents who have a 999 emergency will still get a response.
The latest strikes to be announced by the national Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will take place on Christmas Eve (Tuesday, December 24) from 7pm until midnight; from 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve (Tuesday December 31) until 12.30am on New Year’s Day (Wednesday January 1), and from 6.30am until 8.30am on Friday, January 3.
Chris Strickland, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at CFRS, said: “I have been amazed at the commitment and willingness shown by operational managers, on-call firefighters and support staff to change their plans at short notice during the festive break to ensure we can continue to respond to 999 calls.
“The back up plans we have put in place will be limited and because of the time of year it has been more of a struggle for us to ensure operational resilience is in place. However, we would like to sincerely thank all the staff that are sacrificing their family time this Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to ensure our county has fire cover.
“I also appreciate this is a national dispute between the FBU and the Government and it is a tough decision for any firefighter to take industrial action.”
Fire engines will be crewed by operational staff from watch commanders up to the chief fire officer. Two non-operational managers have been trained to drive fire engines and on-call firefighters will be available across the county.
Fire chiefs are still urging the public to Be Safer… Be Slower… Be Vigilant during the strike periods and to put fire safety at the forefront of their minds:
• Take extra care with cooking and smoking in the house – especially when drinking alcohol
• Put candle safety first, particularly when situated near Christmas decorations, by keeping them away from flammable materials, placing them on an even surface and extinguishing when leaving the room
• Beware of overloading electrical plug sockets – more than ever with all those new electronic gadgets bought for Christmas
• Most importantly, NEVER take the batteries out of a smoke alarm to power new gadgets and toys.