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Stay Safe – Strike Called Off by members of the Fire Brigades Union

 

Updated 17:00hrs Friday 18 October 2013

West Midlands Fire Service have issued a press statement to confirm the Saturday (19 Oct) strike by members of the Fire Brigades Union has been called off.

 

14:00hrs, 14:00hrs Thursday 17 October 2013

West Midlands Fire Service is urging people to stay extra safe on Saturday night (19 Oct), during a five-hour strike by members of the Fire Brigades Union.

The second walk-out over a national pension dispute will start at 6.30pm and last until 11.30pm, which is one of the busiest periods in the week for calls to the service.

Unlike the last strike, which happened on a Wednesday afternoon, more families are expected to be together at home and more people will be out socialising.

Area Commander Paul Burnham, Head of Emergency Response for WMFS, said: “The second strike is on a different day and at a different time to the first, but everyone’s priority needs to be the same: stay safe.

“Saturday nights are always very busy for us, but with fewer fire engines and firefighters available, we’re asking people to be extra careful whether they’re at home, on the roads or out and about.

“Some of our staff who are not on strike will be helping us to provide a level of emergency response, but a strike on a Saturday night clearly presents us with challenges. The public can do a lot to help, by doing everything they can to stay safe and, hopefully, avoiding the need to call us in the first place.

“People must be vigilant if they’re cooking at home, whether it’s at teatime or later when they get back from a night out. And we really need those who are out enjoying their weekend and a few drinks to be as sensible as possible.”

A/Cmdr Burnham also appealed to entertainment venues, restaurants and food outlets, and licensed premises to make staff and customer safety a top priority on Saturday night. And he urged businesses which are usually closed at the weekend to double-check their fire precautions in advance.

Public safety is central to the contingency plans that WMFS will have in place. Emergency calls to the 999 systems will still be answered as normal, although resources to respond to them will be fewer. Incidents involving a threat to life will be prioritised, followed by those involving property and then lower-risk call-outs.

The brigade is asking people to make sure that they, their families and friends take six simple steps towards reducing the risk of fire in their home (see below).

More safety advice is also available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe. Useful information is also issued via the @WestMidsFire Twitter account.

The WMFS ‘Six simple steps’ are:

1. PROTECT YOUR HOME WITH SMOKE ALARMS
•    make sure you have smoke alarms on each floor of your home
•    test your smoke alarms every week
•    if you can’t reach them, get a friend or relative to test them for you
•    never disconnect or take the batteries out of an alarm if it goes off by mistake

2. TAKE EXTRA CARE IN THE KITCHEN
•    Look when you cook! Never leave cooking unattended – take pans off the heat if you have to leave the room
•    keep your cooker clean – burnt food and fat can cause fires
•    make sure that your toaster, oven, hob and grill are all clean and in good working order
•    don’t drink and fry – order a take-away or eat cold food
•    keep clothing and tea towels away from the cooker
•    keep electrical leads away from the cooker and water
•    get rid of your chip pan
•    if a pan catches fire, don’t take risks. Get out, stay out and call 999

3. CHECK YOUR ELECTRICS
•    unplug appliances when not in use, unless they’re designed to be left on, like your fridge
•    don’t overload plug sockets
•    ensure tumble dryers and washing machines are cleaned and maintained – excess fluff can build up over time and catch fire
•    keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture – never use them to dry clothes
•    keep all appliances clean and in good working order
•    regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging anything in
•    unplug your electric blanket before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use
•    don’t leave the washing machine or tumble dryer on while you’re out or in bed

4. SMOKE SAFELY (IF YOU MUST SMOKE AT ALL)
•    stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Put them out. Right out!
•    never smoke in bed
•    keep all matches and lighters out of children’s reach
•    use a proper ashtray that can’t tip over and is made of material which won’t burn
•    never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire
•    empty ashtrays regularly

5. SLEEP SAFELY
•    establish a bedtime routine to keep you and your family safe
•    switch off and unplug electrical equipment – only leave appliances on if they’re designed to be left on, like your fridge
•    close all internal doors at night to stop a fire from spreading
•    check your cooker – make sure the grill, hob and oven are all turned off
•    turn heaters off and put a guard in front of an open fire
•    check candles are out – never leave one burning when you go to sleep
•    keep door and window keys where you can easily find them
•    keep a phone at your bedside in case you need help
•    don’t leave the washing machine or tumble drier on when you’re out or have gone to bed

6. PLAN A SAFE ESCAPE
•    plan an escape route so you know what to do if you’re alerted by your smoke alarm to a fire in your home
•    make sure everyone knows the escape route, and keep it clear
•    the best route is the normal way in and out of your home
•    think of a second route in case the first is blocked
•    practise your escape plan
•    keep door and window keys where everyone can find them

Ends

West Midlands Fire Service – Press Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 – 10:30

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