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Cover in place locally during latest national fire strike periods

Published 06 August 2014

Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service will respond to every 999 call it receives during the latest Fire Bridges Union-called strike periods, the county's Assistant Chief Fire Officer has said.

A fire engine

The next nationwide scheduled periods of industrial strike action over a national dispute between the union and central government over pension reforms are from midday to 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59pm each day from Saturday 9 August to Saturday 16 August.

A mixture of non-striking full-time personnel and on-call staff will provide cover in Oxfordshire during the strike periods, the same arrangement that has been successfully utilised locally during the previous 30 national strikes since September last year.

There is again an agreement in place with the local Fire Brigades Union (FBU) branch in Oxfordshire which would see striking members return to duty if a serious incident which required significant Fire and Rescue Service attendance happened during the planned strikes.

Help keep county safe

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Simon Furlong said: "I want to reassure the county's public that every emergency call made to their Fire and Rescue Service during the latest scheduled national strike periods will be responded to.

"We have a cover plan in place which we have utilised well during previous FBU-called strikes and there is an agreement with the FBU locally that striking firefighters will return to work if an incident occurred which required a significant amount of firefighters to attend.

"There are also some simple, practical steps which residents in their home or on the road can take at any time to help me 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: "These national strikes are the result of an on-going dispute between the FBU and central government and locally there is little we can do to help resolve things.

"We do in Oxfordshire 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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