Roy Wilsher QFSMThe Fire Brigades Union has announced three further national strikes on 2, 3, and 4 May as part of the ongoing dispute over firefighter pensions.

During the following periods there will be fewer firefighters on duty across the country:
• Friday 2 May from 12noon to 5pm;
• Saturday 3 May 2014 from 2pm to 2am on Sunday 4 May; and
• Sunday 4 May 2014 from 10am to 3pm

Hertfordshire CFO Roy Wilsher, CFOA's Director of Operations, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Fire Brigades Union has announced more strikes. It’s hard to see how this is going to help resolve their dispute with the government.

“This repeated strike action in a key public service is ill-conceived and the safety of the people of Hertfordshire should not be used as a bargaining tool.

“Our contingency arrangements have stood up well during previous strike action, however with fewer resources our ability to respond to incidents is reduced, therefore I urge the public to play their part again and take extra care during the strike action.

“We will be responding as quickly as possible to serious incidents. In the event of a fire you should still get out, stay out, and call 999 – you will get an emergency response. We continue to hope that the government and FBU can resolve their dispute and that further walkouts can be avoided.”

Further reading: Herts chief receives QFSM

During any period of industrial action, the responsibility for maintaining the fire precautions within the premises of the business remains with the ‘Responsible Person’ for the property and therefore, business owners are advised to ensure that everything is in place, in accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, in order to ensure the safety of staff, visitors and the premises.

The Assistant Chief Fire Officer of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) has also urged people in the area to be ‘extra vigilant’ at home and on the roads during the strikes.

ACFO Rod Hammerton said: “that whilst South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority understand why staff are taking industrial action The Fire and Rescue Authority has a duty and an obligation to ensure that the provision of services to the public remains as unaffected as is reasonably practicable.

“The strike dates coincide with a bank holiday weekend when historically people tend to make the most of the holiday period be it travelling, socialising or barbecuing with family and friends. During this period we urge our communities to be extra vigilant as they go about their business, as regrettably the number of SWFRS staff expected to make a protest is high and will also include operational staff. This reduction in resources will mean SWFRS will not be able to provide the same high level of response to fires and other emergencies and as such life critical incidents will be responded to as a priority”.

In order to provide reassurance to communities, safety advice and guidance for the public is widely available through the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service website, social network sites on Facebook and Twitter, as well as through the local news.