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Hoax Call Made as North Yorkshire Firefighters Go On Strike

Fire Strike 250913

2:17pm 25th September 2013
(Updated 2:46pm 25th September 2013)

North Yorkshire's firefighters are on strike until four o'clock.

During the strike action a hoax call was made from the Northallerton area at 12.35pm.

Area Manager Dave McCabe, Head of Risk Management for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said; “It is shocking to think that members of the public would consider making these calls, especially during the strike period when there was a higher chance of resources being stretched attending real emergencies.

“In today’s occurrence our control room staff challenged the caller, and no fire engines were mobilised to attend.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind all the residents of North Yorkshire, whatever age, that making hoax calls is not a joking matter and could put lives at risk.”

Deliberate hoax calls to the emergency services are illegal and a successful prosecution could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and/or 6 months in prison.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service say the more rural areas are mainly unaffected by this strike action as the majority of them are crewed by retained (part time/on-call) firefighters, many of whom are not members of the FBU.

It adds that in the larger towns some additional fully trained staff have been called in to make up crewing numbers and ensure that there is fire cover in place across the area. All the staff we are using to respond to incidents are fully trained operational staff.  

Firefighters have walked out in a row over pensions, many are angry that their terms have changed after they began paying in.

These striking firefighters in York spoke to Minster FM's Gill Sennett:

Nationally, Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.

“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.

“None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”

The service says these measures will enable them to attend emergency 999 calls, but there will still be fewer fire engines overall so the public are asked to take extra care to protect themselves, their families, homes and businesses.

Automatic fire alarms will be a low priority during the strike period, unless there is a risk to life.  If there is a 999 call, at a premises where an AFA has activated, confirming a fire firefighters who are working will prioritise these calls, but ask that people do not call 999 just because the alarm within their premises has activated.

The fire service said in a statement: "The best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working and to make sure that they have a fire action plan so that everyone in the house knows how to escape if a fire does break out."

The following advice has been issued for people during the strike:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep soft items such as tea towels and cloths away from cookers and toasters.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean. A buildup of fat and grease can easily catch fire.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Never put a heater near clothes or furnishings
  • Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully.
  • While driving check your speed and slow down.
  • Minimize distractions such as loud music and mobile phones.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
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