When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Safety warnings as firefighters plan to strike over weekend
HAMPSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to celebrate safely this weekend ahead of a planned firefighters' strike tonight.
Firefighters at stations across the county will take to the picket line from 6.30pm this evening following a row over pensions and retirement age proposals put forward by Westminster.
Another strike is scheduled between 6am and 8am on Monday, November 4.
But the strikes, which have been put forward by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), come as fireworks displays and bonfire celebrations take place across Hampshire.
The FBU said it has timed the strikes so celebrations on Saturday and Bonfire night can still go ahead.
The fire service will remain in operation throughout the periods of action and will be answering calls as normal, but it is urging the public to take “extra care” to help reduce calls during the strikes.
It is calling on spectators to attend organised firework displays, rather than holding them at home, and reminding householders to install smoke alarms and make sure they are working.
The service is also regularly reminding people of how to stay safe with fireworks and in the event of a fire through social media websites.
Assistant chief officer Neil Odin said: “We are prepared for the industrial action.
“We will once again strive to provide a safe level of cover for the county as we did during the previous industrial action, managing to maintain around 50% of the fire appliances that we would normally have available.
“But inevitably there is going to be an impact on our usual response times. With the forthcoming celebrations around bonfire night and Diwali, I would urge the public to be especially careful with fireworks and candles to help reduce unnecessary calls.
“There are many well organised firework displays in the county this November. We would recommend attending one instead of a celebration at home. If you still intend to have your own bonfire party always follow the Firework Code.
“During the strike periods we are keen to urge everyone to 'take extra care' and do what they can to help prevent fires, and collisions on the road.
“Many fires in the home are caused by everyday activities like cooking and smoking, if consuming alcohol as well then the risk of a fire increases substantially.
“If you are going out this Friday evening for a few drinks, why not pick up a takeaway on your way home instead of cooking, and if you are a smoker always make sure you put it out, right out.
“As the second strike period takes place on Monday morning, we would also like to urge drivers to give the road their full attention and never use a mobile phone whilst driving. We all too often see the devastation of road traffic collisions often caused by distractions.”
“If you do have a fire, our advice remains to get out of the house, stay out and call 999.”
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, said: “It is ludicrous that, after two years of negotiations, the government has still not sorted out this mess “Firefighters are keen for these issues to be resolved through discussion, but the government won't even listen to its own evidence, which highlights that the schemes are unworkable and unaffordable.
“Firefighters want a pension scheme that takes account of the hazardous nature of the job as well as being affordable and workable for them and for the taxpayer.
“We hope these brief strikes will mean the government returns to negotiations so we can agree a sensible way forward.”
Comments are closed on this article.