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West Midlands Fire Service – industrial action confirmed for Wed 25 Sep – new Press Release

 

News Release from West Midlands Fire Service, 24 September 2013

Businesses urged to stay safe

Businesses across the West Midlands are being urged to stay focused on the safety of their staff and premises during a four-hour strike by some firefighters tomorrow afternoon (Wed 25 Sept).

West Midlands Fire Service is asking them to take extra precautionary measures during work which carries a fire risk until after the 12noon-4pm Fire Brigades Union walkout, which has been

prompted by a national dispute over pensions. Area Commander Paul Burnham, Head of Emergency Response for WMFS, said: “We have written to major sites and employers to make sure they are aware of the industrial action and that our ability to respond to calls will be reduced during the four-hour period.

“We will have detailed contingency plans in place, but everyone can play a part in helping to minimise demand on the fewer resources we will have available. We want to minimise disruption to West Midlands employers, but some extra preventative measures and information to key staff can help to stop some incidents happening in the first place.

“Taking extra care during ‘hot works’ such as welding, for example, during the strike period is one thing we’d ask firms to consider. Security patrols should also be stepped up, and fire marshals made fully aware that the industrial action is taking place.”

A host of fire safety advice aimed at businesses is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the West Midlands Fire Service website:

www.wmfs.net. The site also details ‘Six simple steps’ that people can take to keep themselves safe at home:

· protect your home with working smoke alarms and test them weekly

· take extra care in the kitchen

· check your electrics

· if you must smoke, do it safely

· sleep safely and work through a safety checklist before you go to bed

· plan a fire escape route and practise your escape plan with your family

Area Commander Burnham also urged road users and pedestrians to take extra care. He added: “Our plans have been drawn up and tested over recent weeks, to help us achieve the maximum impact with the resources we’ll have available. Although the 999 system will be working as usual, we will not be able to provide the normal level of firefighter cover during the strike. As I’m sure people would expect, we will prioritise incidents where there is a threat to life, followed by those involving property and then lower-risk call-outs.” (Ends – notes follow)

Issued by Neil Spencer, Senior Press Officer, West Midlands Fire Service, tel 0121 380 6101. On Twitter we’re @WestMidsFire

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The following information was released by WMFS press office on 20th September:

West Midlands Fire Service is reassuring the public that it will be working hard to provide the maximum level of protection possible during a four-hour strike by members of the Fire Brigades Union on 25 September 2013.

The industrial action, scheduled for 12noon-4pm next Wednesday, is part of a national dispute with the Government over changes to firefighters’ pensions.

Public safety is central to the detailed contingency plans that WMFS has been drawing up for several weeks in case of a strike.

Area Commander Paul Burnham, Head of Emergency Response for West Midlands Fire Service, said: “We fully understand and appreciate the level of feeling among those firefighters who will be striking. We very much hope that the dispute can be resolved as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, our focus – as always – is on how best to keep people safe across the West Midlands. We’re taking every precaution to keep disruption to a minimum and to make sure people are protected.

“By using staff who aren’t involved in the action, and by working closely with other agencies, we’re confident that we’ll be able to provide an effective emergency response when required.

“Most house fires are preventable, and the public can make a huge contribution to their own safety. Being extra vigilant, taking more care and using basic common sense at home, on the roads and at work can make the difference between needing our help or not.”

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

Tips to stay safe:

• make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home

• check that everyone you live with knows your fire escape plan and escape routes

• dispose of cigarettes and other smoking materials very carefully – don’t smoke late at night and/or in bed

• be extra careful in the kitchen – don’t leave food cooking unattended

• take care on the roads – stick to speed limits, don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

A wide range of safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: 

www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe

 

 

Regular tips are also issued on Twitter via @WestMidsFire

 

 

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