As further Fire Brigades’ Union strike action and ‘action short of a strike’ is confirmed, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is once again urging everyone to be fire and road safety aware over the festive period.
The Fire Brigades’ Union has announced that its members will be taking strike action on
- Tuesday 24 December from 19.00 to midnight;
- Tuesday 31 December from 18.30 to 00.30;
- Saturday 03 January from 06.30 to 08.30.
In addition to the strike action, FBU members have also voted to support ‘action short of a strike’. In Cornwall this will be refusal by fire service personnel to undertake any voluntary overtime. It is unclear at this time what effect this will have but there is a possibility of localised disruption to services, particularly around staff availability. The FBU has agreed the following dates and time for action short of a strike:
- Tuesday 24 December from 19:00 – midnight (Fire Control staff only)
- Friday 27 December from 19:00 to 19.00 on Sunday 29 December (48 hours)
CFRS Chief Fire Officer Des Tidbury said: “This series of dates for full strike action and for action short of strike action will again impact on how we deliver a fire and rescue service to the people of Cornwall. During the previous periods of strike action, the conduct of all of our staff, both those taking action and those working, was exemplary throughout and I expect that the same will apply this time.
The contingency plans that we put in place, alongside the huge efforts made by those not taking strike action, kept Cornwall protected and safe throughout the duration. This was by no means a simple task and only highlights the dedication and determination of all Cornwall’s fire fighters.
My message to residents and businesses is to remain vigilant. A part of the work carried out by the fire service includes attending road traffic collisions so I especially want to appeal to people who may be out and about enjoying Christmas festivities to make sure they have a plan on how to get home – have a designated driver who remains sober or perhaps book a taxi.”
“I’m also asking businesses to take extra care when shutting up shop and to take note of our top tips for keeping businesses safe from fire.”
- Be safety conscious when you carry out all checks at closing time
- Make sure your alarm systems are set before you leave
- Keep all fire escapes and entrances clear
- Switch off electrical appliances at the plug when not in use
- Avoid putting flammable waste out on the day
- Don’t store flammable goods under stairs or in enclosed spaces
- Keep smoking areas free of waste and empty ash trays
- Keep areas tidy and free from clutter
- Make sure your staff know what to do in the event of a fire
- Check your fire safety risk assessment
- Businesses are also reminded to be mindful of their responsibilities as during periods of strike action the Fire Service may not be able to respond to fire safety enquiries within its usual timescales. It remains the responsibility of employers, landlords and other premises occupiers to comply with fire safety law.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s advice to householders is to make preparations and take extra care with these six steps:
- Make sure you have smoke alarms on at least every level of your home.
- Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they’re working. Test them regularly.
- Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.
- Plan your escape route and make sure everyone knows how to get out in a fire.
- Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.
- Do not overload electrical sockets. Watch out for faulty and over-heating electrical equipment, and wiring/cables.
Des adds: “I would urge everyone to take extra care and time to think about fire safety in their home during this period – check smoke alarms; ensure you know what you would do if there is a fire and do not make unnecessary calls to the fire and rescue service. We have some safety advice which specifically relates to Christmas which is available on our website.”
Once again, we have contingency plans in place to maintain minimum levels of cover during the strike action. The most important thing to remember is that if you do have a fire, get out of the building, stay out and call 999 – you will get an emergency response. We will continue to respond to emergency calls and will obviously prioritise those where lives are at risk. Public and fire fighter safety remains of paramount importance and we will give the best service to the people of Cornwall within the limitations of the resources available to us.”