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Fire safety concerns over festive period strikes

safety concernsPEMBROKESHIRE is braced for yet more fire crew strikes which are set to take place over the busy Christmas and New Year periods.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has stated: “Robust contingency plans are in place and will continue to operate business as usual, as far as reasonably practicable, during all periods of strike action throughout the Christmas season”.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Derek Masson, pointed out that the general public could also take certain safety measures themselves.

He said: “Whilst we appreciate the concerns some of our staff have in respect of proposed government cuts to pensions, our number one priority is to ensure public safety by providing the best possible service throughout these periods of strike action.

“Our contingency planning is continuing to go well and we are fortunate to have a number of operational staff who are not affiliated with the Fire Brigades Union and will be working as usual during these periods of strike action.

“However, there is no avoiding the fact that our emergency response will be slightly reduced during this period. Fire associated risks increase significantly over Christmas, from the distractions of a crowded house while cooking, impaired reaction times from alcohol consumption, dangers of overloaded sockets, flammable decorations and unattended candles, so I would encourage everybody to take extra care by familiarising themselves with our Christmas safety advice which is available on our website and social media channels. In the event of an emergency, however, the public must still dial 999 and an emergency response will be provided.”

Fire Brigades Union, General Secretary Matt Wrack, sought to justify the purpose of the strike: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members’ professionalism, commitment and flexibility.

“However, there should be no need for industrial action and it’s absurd that firefighters’ concerns over pensions have not been addressed already. The government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.

“By simply conceding common sense and allowing firefighters a fair deal, the Government could end this industrial action today.”

Strikes will take place between:

– 7pm and midnight on Tuesday 24 December 24

– 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 31 and 12.30am on Wednesday 1 January;

– 6.30am and 8.30am on Friday, January 3

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has published safety advice and guidance on its website: http://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/English/Newsroom/Industrial-Action/Safety_Advice_for_the_public/Pages/default.aspx