Statement from Shropshire's Chief Fire Officer John Redmond

The Fire Brigades Union has notified all Fire and Rescue Authorities, across England and Wales, that a strike is to take place on September 25 between noon and 4pm. 

John Redmond, Chief Fire Officer for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have been planning for potential strike action for some time and feel that we are fully prepared.  However, I would appeal to the public to take extra care to keep themselves and their families safe and follow the ten point plan detailed in this article and the additional guidance that can be found on our website.

“It is predominantly our wholetime fire stations, in Shrewsbury and Telford, that will be impacted by the planned strike. Our part time, or On-call, staffed fire stations, which are largely based in the more rural areas of Shropshire, are less likely to be affected.”

This will result in the Service having even greater reliance on its On-call staff based in the Telford and Shrewsbury areas.  CFO Redmond appealed for the normal employers of the On-call firefighters to be even more flexible than they already are, when releasing their staff to protect their communities during any period of strike action.

“Businesses are also being asked to play their part in reducing risk during these periods, by further helping to reduce the number of false alarms, caused by faulty automatic fire alarm systems, which require a response from our fire crews”, said Mr Redmond

He pointed out that the Service’s Fire Control, which deals with the 999 calls in Shropshire, will be unaffected by strike action.

“Our administration staff will be working as normal, however some business and community fire prevention work is likely to be cut back,” he said.

“We are asking people to only call 999 if they really do need a fire engine.  Our priority is to respond to calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued. If we respond to non-emergency calls then those most in need could be at risk.

“A non-emergency call could be to someone who is locked out of their house or where debris has fallen into the road. There are other agencies and organisations that can help in this instance”.

“We do find ourselves in an unusual situation where we must prioritise our calls for those who are most in need of our assistance. However, I must emphasise that you should still call 999 in an emergency so that an experienced control room operator can deal with your situation. You must not try and call your local fire station directly,” said Mr Redmond.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a ten point plan for safety around the house, at work, and on the road.

Make sure your smoke alarm works
All the family must know what to do to escape from a fire in their home.
Cooking causes most fires – take extra care in the kitchen and don’t leave pans unattended.
Avoid late night cooking sessions after drinking alcohol – eat out
Close internal doors to avoid fire spreading
Turn off electrics when not in use
Keep matches away from children
Ensure your car tyres are regularly checked
Don’t text or call while driving
If you run a business – ensure your alarm detection equipment is serviced and does not go off unnecessarily. 

For more information on fire safety visit www.shropshirefire.gov.uk

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