Fire service reassures public over strike action

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Fire chiefs have assured people all over Milton Keynes that they will not be in danger during the firefighters’ strike due to take place tomorrow (Wednesday).

But they have warned the public to “take extra care” to avoid fire risks when cooking, lighting bonfires or leaving electrical appliances unattended.

Bucks Fire and Rescue Service’s contingency plans mean there will be enough non-strikers to ensure a continuous service in Milton Keynes.

And even many of the striking firefighters have already promised they will break then picket lines and volunteer to work should there be a emergency fire or rescue situation.

The strike will last for four hours, between 12 noon and 4pm. Between times the firefighters will report for work at their fire stations as normal.

They are in dispute with the Government over pensions. Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues.

“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.

“None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”

Jason Thelwell, Chief Operating Officer for Bucks fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are confident that our business continuity plan, with emergency cover being provided by firefighters who have made a commitment to work for the whole day, has enough capacity to allow us to deliver a safe level of cover across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes during the strike period.

“As on any other day, we would like to encourage people to take extra care to avoid the risk of an emergency.”