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Cover in place during latest firefighter strike periods

Published 29 April 2014

Every 999 fire call received by Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service during the latest scheduled Fire Brigades Union (FBU) strikes will be responded to, the county's Chief Fire Officer has said.

The next periods of industrial action over a national dispute with central government about proposed pension reforms are from midday to 5pm on Friday May 2; for 12 hours from 2pm on Saturday May 3 and from 10am to 3pm on Sunday May 4.

A mixture of non-striking full-time personnel and on-call staff will provide cover locally.

An agreement with the local FBU branch would ensure that the strikes would be broken and participating members would return to work if a serious incident which required significant Fire and Rescue Service attendance occurred during the planned strikes.

Help keep county safe

Chief Fire Officer David Etheridge said: "I want to reassure Oxfordshire's public that every emergency call made to the Fire and Rescue Service during these scheduled strike periods will be responded to.

"We have a cover plan in place that we will use which we have utilised well during previous FBU-called strike periods. We also have an agreement with the FBU locally that striking personnel would return to duty if an incident occurred which required the presence of a substantial number of firefighters.

"There are also simple, practical steps which residents in their home or on the road can take themselves at any time to help the Fire and Rescue Service keep Oxfordshire as safe as possible.

"These include checking that smoke alarms work; ensuring electrical sockets are not overloaded; making sure vehicles are road-safe by checking tyre pressures to help guard against a potentially accident-causing blow-out.

"These are all easy but significant tasks that people can do to help ensure safety and I would encourage residents to carry them out."

Read video transcript

The national fire brigade union have called another strike, details of which are below. This strike will affect Oxfordshire, however I would like to absolutely reassure you that Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be making a response to every 999 call we receive.

However there are things you can do to help us. For those of you at home, please make sure you test your smoke alarm so that you know it’s working. For those on the road driving cars, please make sure you drive slower to give yourself more thinking time.

But we’re also here to help you. Should you wish to receive any advice please either go to our website www.365alive.co.uk or contact us on 08000 325999.

Thank you for helping me make Oxfordshire safer.

Safety messages and advice can be found online via 365alive, an Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service initiative which aims to promote a safer community through safety education and preventative work.

A national dispute

County Council Deputy Leader Councillor Rodney Rose said: "There is little that we can do in Oxfordshire to help resolve this dispute, as it is between the national Fire Brigades Union and central government.

"We do locally have robust contingency plans in place that have worked successfully to cover previous strikes and we will continue to use these arrangements to cover the latest scheduled periods of industrial action."

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