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 pledged.
The next periods of industrial action over a national dispute with central government about proposed pension reforms are for five and a half hours from 7pm on New Year’s Eve and from 6.30am to 8.30am on Friday, January 3.
A mixture of non-striking full-time personnel and on-call staff will again provide cover locally - the same arrangement successfully used during seven recent strike periods.
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 Service and Rescue Service attendance occurred during the planned strike.
Chief fire officer David Etheridge has highlighted several actions people can undertake to help keep the county as safe as possible during the scheduled strikes.
He said: “We are a 24-7, 365 days a year operation and I would like reassure people again that their fire and rescue service will deal with each and every 999 fire call it receives during these scheduled strike periods.
“It’s the festive season and many people enjoy using candles in their home and I would encourage them to ensure that candles are extinguished before people go to bed to help avoid the possibility of them causing a fire.
“Christmas tree lights and other decorative lights are also popular at this time of year, so I would ask those using them to ensure that plug sockets are not overloaded and that wires are in order.
“The fire and rescue service attend serious road traffic accidents so I want to again press home the point during the new year party period that drink-driving causes accidents and costs lives.
“My staff raise awareness of the damage that drink-driving can do and I urge people who have an alcoholic drink not to drive.”