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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Firefighters’ strike may mean no response to ‘low risk’ calls in Cumbria

FIREFIGHTERS in Cumbria will again go on strike over the coming weekend as part of a continuing row over pensions.

Some members of Cumbria Fire and Rescue will take industrial action between noon and 5pm on Friday. They will also go on strike between 2pm and 2am on Saturday, and between 10am and 3pm on Sunday.

The strike has been called nationally by the Fire Brigades’ Union in response to a dispute with the government over proposed changes to firefighter pensions.

The first wave of industrial action took place on September 25 last year, followed by further strikes in October, November, mid-December and the Christmas and New Year period.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service will be operating a reduced emergency response when the industrial action takes place.

It said it would be unable to provide the level of cover residents in Cumbria can usually expect.

Although the service will try to attend all emergency calls, it warned that some incidents where life is not considered to be at immediate risk, such as small fires and automatic fire alarms, may receive a reduced or even no response.

Cumbria’s chief fire officer Ian Cartwright said: “We have contingency plans in place in order to maintain fire and rescue service capability during any strikes but we’re also asking the people of Cumbria to help us out by taking extra fire safety steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.

“Fires can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended, to electrical faults or candles being placed too close to furnishings.

“The best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working at least once a week.

“Our highest priority during industrial action will be to respond to crucial calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued.

“If we respond to low priority calls then those most in need could be at risk. A low priority call could be to someone who is locked out or where debris has fallen in the road.”

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