West Midlands Fire Service is urging people to make safety their top priority for 24 hours later this week, when firefighters stage their latest walkout.
The strike, which will run from 9am on Thurs 12 June to 9am on Fri 13 June, is the latest in a national pensions dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and the Government. A seven-hour strike is also planned for 10am-5pm on Saturday 21 June.
The brigade is urging people to stay safe whether they’re at home, work or out and about.
Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response and Resource Management) with WMFS, said: “Although this is the first 24-hour strike in the national dispute, we’ll be implementing our tried and tested contingency arrangements to keep the West Midlands as safe as possible.
“Public safety is central to our plans, and 999 calls will still be answered as normal. However, it won’t be ‘business as usual’, as we’ll be focusing all of our efforts on responding to emergencies using operational staff who aren’t striking. Our daily prevention, education and community work will have to be suspended for the duration of the strike.
“Of course, Thursday evening sees the start of the World Cup when lots of familes and friends will be tuning in for the Brazil v Croatia game. If you’re travelling before or after the match, please don’t drink-drive.
“I’d like to make a direct appeal to pubs and entertainment venues hosting World Cup-related events to put staff and customer safety at the top of their list. Throughout the World Cup we’re urging people to ‘Play it safe’ and to keep an eye on safety as well as the ball.”
During the strike, WMFS will be prioritising incidents involving a threat to life, followed by those involving property and then lower-risk call-outs. It could take non-striking fire crews longer than usual to get to attend incidents, depending on demand. The brigade is appealing to people only to call 999 in a genuine emergency.
Six simple steps towards reducing the risk of fire at home have been published at www.wmfs.net:
- Protect your home with smoke alarms
- Take extra care in the kitchen
- Check your electrics
- Smoke safely (if you must smoke at all)
- Sleep safely
- Plan a safe escape, and make sure any weekend guests know how to get out.
Traffic collisions make up a significant proportion of all incidents dealt with by West Midlands Fire Service. Tips for road users and pedestrians:
- leave good time for your journey and allow for possible delays
- any amount of alcohol affects your judgement, coordination and ability to drive, so it’s best not to drink and drive at all
- if you’re going out for a drink, nominate a designated driver who won’t drink alcohol, use public transport or a pre-ordered taxi, or stay over with family or friends
- drive appropriately for the road conditions, wear seatbelts and switch lights on if need be
- stick to speed limits – they give you thinking and braking time
- pedestrians: be aware of what’s happening around you at all times, especially when crossing the road
- pedestrians and cyclists: make sure you can be seen – wear bright and reflective clothing; check that your bike lights are working.