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North Yorkshire Firefighters to Strike Over Pensions

Fire Engine

5:23pm 17th September 2013

Firefighters in North Yorkshire and Humberside will strike for four hours next Wednesday in a row over pensions

The action will take place between 12.00pm and 4.00pm however we won't see any return of the army Green Goddesses or soldiers taking over fire engines. Humberside Fire Service has recruited members of the public to provide volunteer cover during this time but North Yorkshire Fire Service hasn't done this saying "A large percentage of our firefighters are retained (i.e. part-time or on-call), and many of them are not members of the FBU, because of this they were not included in the strike ballot and will be working as normal. These staff are fully trained operational staff."

But the North Yorkshire Fire Authority says it's "greatly concerned" about the impact on wider community safety in the county.

However, not all firefighters in North Yorkshire or Humberside area will take part in the strike action as not all are members of the Fire Brigades Union.

The North Yorkshire Fire Service says there will be many fire stations in North Yorkshire, particularly in the more rural areas, which will be unaffected. It adds it is putting some fire engines near locations where crews will be striking.

North Yorkshire's Chief Fire Officer Nigel Hutchinson said; “I want to reassure the public that emergency (999) calls will still be answered during this time and contingency plans have been put in place to ensure we can still respond to emergency incidents.

“However, it would greatly help us if members of the public took extra steps during this time to reduce the risk of fires breaking out in their home.”

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Richard Hanningan, said: “I fully appreciate the concerns the Union has over the proposed changes to pensions and hope that it is able to come to a satisfactory agreement through further discussions with government. We understand how important pensions are to our staff, however the safety of our communities must come first and I am disappointed that members of the Union have chosen to take this route.

“We have confidence in our robust plans that will enable us to provide an emergency response service. However this will be greatly reduced from what we can ordinarily provide and what the public expect,” CFO Hannigan added.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Safety, Chris Blacksell, said: “As there will be fewer fire engines available to attend incidents during periods of industrial action it is even more important that people take extra care to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“I would urge everyone to ensure their homes have smoke detectors and to test them each week; by having working smoke alarms fitted in your home, you will be alerted quickly should a fire break out. A bedtime check is a quick and simple task to help make sure a fire doesn’t start when you go to bed. I would also urge drivers to take extra care on the roads and businesses to take extra precautions,”

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has offered this advice to the public;

  • Switch off and unplug electrical equipment when not in use, especially at night.
  • Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep candles away from items that can easily catch fire such as curtains.
  • Make sure your home has a smoke alarm correctly fitted. Fit at least one alarm per floor.
  • Test smoke alarms weekly- only working smoke alarms save lives

 If a fire does break out in your home;

  • Get out
  • Dial 999 and ask for the fire service
  • Stay out

For further safety advice visit the North Yorkshire or Humberside Fire Service websites.

We'll be providing full coverage on next Wednesday's strike here on 104.7 Minster FM.

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