As a second strike date is announced by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Norfolkâ€™s Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents in the county that the 999 service will continue to operate during the industrial action which takes place tomorrow (Saturday 19 October) between 6.30pm and 11.30pm.
Members of the FBU are striking over changes to the national pension scheme.
Contingency plans are in place to ensure that emergency fire calls will continue to be answered, but 999 calls will be prioritised and responses will be dealt with by whatever resource is available.
During the first strike action which took place on Wednesday 25 September union members walked out for four hours. Norfolkâ€™s Fire and Rescue Serviceâ€™s contingency arrangements were able to meet the operational demands during the walk out.
Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: â€œOnce again we have a contingency plan in place. We have been working hard to ensure we are as prepared as possible and have cover across the county.
â€œA number of stations in Norfolk are staffed by trained firefighters who are not taking part in the strike action so will continue to operate as normal.
â€œHowever, we will have a reduced level of cover during the five hours on Saturday evening but we will do the very best we can to protect the countyâ€™s residents.â€
The strike action will mean the closure of fire stations in urban parts of the county where FBU membership is strongest as well as some in rural areas.
Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: â€œIt is unfortunate that another strike action date has been called but Norfolkâ€™s Fire and Rescue Service has a plan in place to deal with incidents as best they can by using the resources available. Calls will be prioritised as they come in but I would urge the people of Norfolk to remain vigilant and take all necessary precautions to prevent fires breaking out, observe their speed limits and take extra care when driving.â€
Residents in Norfolk are being urged to take the following steps to reduce the threat of fire:
â€¢ Fit a smoke alarm and check it regularly.
â€¢ Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your house knows how to escape in the event of fire.
â€¢ Take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using thermostatically controlled deep fat fryers.
â€¢ Never leave lit candles unattended.
â€¢ Avoid starting bonfires or other fires outdoors.
â€¢ Avoid using fireworks or floating lanterns.
â€¢ Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully.
â€¢ Never smoke in bed.
â€¢ Keep matches and lighters away from children.
â€¢ Keep clothing away from heating appliances.
â€¢ Take care in the kitchen! Accidents whilst cooking account for 59% of fires in the home.
â€¢ Take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking.
Businesses in Norfolk are also advised to be vigilant during the industrial action and consider the following key messages:
â€¢ Review your fire risk assessment and make sure it is current.
â€¢ Ask staff to be vigilant to the risk of fire and report any concerns.
â€¢ Check your fire detection system is working effectively and ensure everyone in the building understands what they need to do should it activate.
â€¢ Make sure fire fighting equipment works and everyone expected to use it knows how to do so safely.
â€¢ Make sure fire evacuation plans are in place and employees know what to do.
â€¢ Keep escape routes free from obstacles.
â€¢ Keep fire doors shut.
â€¢ Reduce fire hazards - keep sources of ignition away from flammable materials or substances.
â€¢ Avoid arson risks, such as rubbish left around.
â€¢ Delay activities if they have an increased risk of fire associated with them (e.g. hot cutting or hot works).
Find more safety advice and information about tomorrowâ€™s strike action here.