Take extra care during firefighters’ bank holiday weekend walkouts

fireenginePeople living and working in the Avon Fire & Rescue Service area are being urged to take extra care during a series of national strikes by firefighters over the May Bank Holiday weekend starting tomorrow.

Friday’s walkout will be from noon until 5pm. This will be followed by a 12-hour strike from 2pm on Saturday until 2am on Sunday. The final strike will be from 10am until 3pm on Sunday.

And from 3pm on Sunday until Friday 9th May FBU members will also refuse any voluntary overtime or additional hours.

During the strike, a skeleton service will operate from six strategic locations across the AF&RS area. Fire cover will be provided in the main by firefighters who are not part of the FBU. They will work alongside a small number of auxiliary firefighters who have received training to provide basic support to fully qualified crews.

Due to the reduced service AF&RS will be prioritising calls to emergencies where there is a risk to life.

Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson said: “This is a national dispute over which Avon Fire Authority has no power to resolve. Although we have contingency arrangements in place, the reality is we will not be in a position to provide the excellent emergency response we usually do.

“In the lead-up to and during the strike, I would ask local people to take steps to ensure their homes and businesses are as safe as possible. Although it’s good practice anytime, it’s particularly important during a period when our emergency response capability will be reduced.

“Accidents do happen but it is possible to reduce the risk and the impact of a fire in the home by taking extra care not to leave cooking unattended, making sure you check smoke alarms are working and rehearsing escape routes with the whole family.

“During the strike 999 calls will be answered in the normal way as control staff are not involved in the action. Although we will be prioritising calls, our advice remains the same – if you have a fire you should get out, stay out and call 999.”