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New Year Stay Safe Message from the Fire Service

To keep up to date on the Fire Service strike action please visit the West Midlands Fire Service Website.  West Midlands Fire Service have issued the below fire safety message for the New Year period.

New Year: stay safe

Following this year’s major #smethwickfire, which was started by a floating sky lantern, West Midlands Fire Service is appealing to people not to use them as part of their New Year celebrations. 

It comes as firefighters prepare to stage their latest strike tonight [6.30pm New Year’s Eve until 12.30am in the early hours of 1 Jan 6.30am-8.30am Friday 3 Jan], as part of a national pensions dispute. 

Pete Wilson, Head of Community Safety for West Midlands Fire Service, said: “Although it’s six months since the fire at Smethwick, the memories of dealing with our biggest incident ever are still very fresh.
“Millions of pounds of damage was caused by a sky lantern, which no doubt cost only a few pence. Up to 200 of our firefighters went to the scene, supported by a wide range of specialist staff and resources, and we were there for several days. Some of our firefighters were injured although, thankfully, none seriously.
“Lots of people enjoy fireworks at times like New Year. We’d prefer people to go to organised events and, if they must use them at home, to do so safely with all the right precautions in place.
“Sky lanterns pose a different risk, because they’re a floating naked flame. There’s no control over how far they’ll go, or where they’ll land. People give up a lot of things at this time of year, when they make their New Year resolutions. Why not give up sky lanterns?
“We’re repeating our request for shops not to sell them, and for people not to buy or use them. This year, with a firefighters’ strike planned for the evening of New Year’s Eve, it’s especially important that we all stay as safe as possible.”


Issued by Neil Spencer, Senior Media Relations Officer, tel 0121 380 6101. On Twitter we’re @WestMidsFire

Press Release Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 – 10:30….


 ‘Festive 5’ tips for staying safe over the Christmas Period

West Midlands Fire Service has issued its ‘Festive 5’ tips for staying safe over the Christmas period, when firefighters are set to stage three further strikes as part of their national pensions dispute.

The walk-outs are planned for:

7pm-midnight on Christmas Eve
6.30pm New Year’s Eve until 12.30am in the early hours of 1 Jan
6.30am-8.30am Friday 3 Jan.

As families and friends prepare to travel, visit and celebrate on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, WMFS is urging them to make safety a top priority and do all they can to reduce the risks of fire or being in a road accident.

“This is a very busy time of year for lots of people, when their minds are on so many things and safety can slip down the list,” said Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response).

“We’re working hard to provide the maximum cover possible during the three strike periods. However, we won’t have our usual level of resources available, so we do really do need people to put safety first and remember our Festive 5 tips for a safe Christmas and New Year.

“We’ll be providing all the protection we can with the staff we have available during the strikes – but this will be a reduced service. We’re also asking people to take extra care during the strike periods, whether they’re at home or out and about. Vigilance and common sense can make the difference between needing to call 999 or not.”

During the strike, people in genuine emergency who need the fire service should call 999 as usual.

West Midlands Fire Service’s ‘Festive 5’ tips for staying safe this Christmas and New Year:

1. Drinking:     None is the only safe option for drivers 
                     Smoking and drinking cause most fire deaths at home
2. Driving:       Plan your journey. Watch the weather. Don’t rush
3. Cooking:     Keep it simple. Don’t stress. #watchwhatyouheat
4. Sparkling:   Keep an eye on your lights and candles
                     Use fireworks safely. Give sky lanterns a miss

5. Partying or staying in: Keep everyone safe with working smoke alarms and an escape plan.
Lots more advice can be found at



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