Firefighters' strikes

 

Update issued at 7:05pm Monday 21 July:

This evening sees the end of 8 days of discontinuous industrial action due to the ongoing dispute between the Government and the Fire Brigade’s Union (FBU).

Area Commander Shilton said “Whilst we have managed to provide a successful resilience cover during this period our business continuity planning has been tested to its full extent, notably several large fires which included two factory fires, a large embankment fire and a serious house fire which, had they started during the periods of industrial action would have utilised nearly 2/3rds of our resilience assets. During this final period of industrial action we have attended two serious house fire which once again tested our contingency plans. We must not underestimate the part that has been played by the communities of theWest Midlandswho have been extremely vigilant. We would ask that we all continue to stay attentive not only during any potential future periods of industrial action but at all times during our day to day activities in order to continue making theWest Midlandssafer”.

14 appliances and 3 Brigade Response Vehicle’s and 1 Temporary Brigade Response Vehicle were available for deployment between 5-6pm and 14 appliances and 3 Brigade Response Vehicles between 6-7pm

 Updates on incidents attended 5 - 7pm: 

5:06pm - New Cross Hospital: Alarms

5:08 pm– Radford,Coventry: Vehicle fire

5:16 pm– Cape Hill,Smethwick: Fire in the open

5:23 pm– Coseley, Tipton: Building fire False alarm malicious

5:39 pm-  Lea Hall,Birmingham: Fire in the open

5:44 pm– Pensnett, Brierley Hill: Fire in the open

6:05 pm–Compton,Wolverhampton: Fire in open

6:10 pm– Bell Green,Coventry: Fire in open

6:12 pm– Allesley,Coventry: Fire in open

6:21 pm– HeathTown/Neachells,Wolverhampton: Fire in open

6:23 pm– Merridale,Wolverhampton: Fire in open

6:37 pm– Darlaston,Walsall: Fire in the open

6:38 pm–Dudley: House fire

6:41 pm– Nechells,Birmingham: Special service call

6:50 pm– Coseley, Bilston: Flat fire

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Update issued at 8:02am Monday 21 July :

During this mornings period of industrial action by firefighters, which took place between 6-8am 12 fire engines and 1 Brigade Response Vehicles were available for deployment.

2 incidents were attended :

6:17am Dudley:Road traffic collision

7:55 am Edgbaston, Birmingham: AFA

Further industrial action will be undertaken by Firefighters this evening from 5pm unitl 7pm. We would once again urge members of the public to stay safe and be aware of the strike action by driving safely and watching what you heat http://www.wmfs.net/content/mobile-phones and  http://www.wmfs.net/content/kitchen-safety

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Updated issued at 08:05pm20 July 2014:

During this evenings period of industrial action which took place between 5-7 pm we had the following resources available: 14 fire engines, 3 Temporary Brigade Response Vehicles and between 6-7pm, 12 fire engines, 1 Brigade Response Vehicles, 2 temporary Brigade Response Vehicles.

Twelve incidents were attended:

5:03 pm - Handsworth, Birmingham: Flooding

5:06 pm – Ladywood, Birmingham: Fire alarms sounding

5:36 pm – M54 Motorway: Small vehicle fire (over the boarder request)

5:42 pm  – Tile Hill, Coventry: Special service call

5:46 pm – Chelmsley Wood, Solihull: Small fire in the open

6:05 pm – Great Barr, Birmingham : AFA

6:24 pm – Quinton, Birmingham: Smoke in area

6:25 pm – Kingstanding, Birmingham: AFA

6:25 pm – Halesowen – Smell of burning

6:27 pm – M6 North, Motorway: car fire

6:29 pm  – Sutton Coldfield: small fire in the open

6:55 pm – Netherton, Dudley: small fire in the open

Further industrial action will be undertaken by Firefighters from6am – 8amtomorrow morning, Monday 21 July. Members of the public are urged to take care as they travel to work or go off on their holidays and to ensure that they check smoke alarms and where possible check those of friends and family who may be in need of assistance.

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Update issued at 1:05 am Sunday 20 July :

13 fire engines, 1 Brigade Response Vehicles and 1 temporary Brigade Response Vehicle were available for deployment during the latest period of industrial action which, took place between 11pm and 1am today.

During this time, three incidents were attended:

 23:00 pm – Deansfield, Wolverhampton: small fire in bin

 23:37 pm– Sparkhill,Birmingham: fire in the open

 00:06am – Bentley, Willenhall: small fire in the open

Further industrial action will be undertaken by Firefighters this evening from 5pm unitl 7pm. We would once again urge members of the public to stay safe and be aware of the strike action by driving safely and watching what you heat http://www.wmfs.net/content/mobile-phones and  http://www.wmfs.net/content/kitchen-safety

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Update issued at 1:02 pm Saturday 19 July :

During the latest period of industrial action which took place between 11am and 1pm today we had 10 fire engines, 3 Brigade Response Vehicles and 1 Temporary Brigade Response Vehicle.

Two incidents were attended:

 12:06 – Willenhall, Walsall: smoke in area 

12:51–Solihull: alarms

Firefighters will be undertaking further industrial action this evening from 11pm unitl 1am. We would again urge members of the public to stay safe and be aware of the strike action. Drive safely and watch what you heat http://www.wmfs.net/content/mobile-phones and  http://www.wmfs.net/content/kitchen-safety

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Update issued at 01:10 am Saturday 19 July :

During the latest period of industrial action which took place between 11pm and 1am this morning we had 12 fire engines and 3 Brigade Response Vehicles.

Seven incidents were attended:

23:10 – Marston Green, Solihull: fire in the open

23:35 – Turves Green, Birmingham: lift

23:50 – Walkers Heath, Birmingham: smoke in area

00:24 – Sonebridge, Solihull – car fire

00:26 – Caudon, Coventry – fire in the open

00:42 – Perry Barr, Birmingham – garage struck by ligtning

00:49 – Winson Green – fire in open

00:49 – Shard End, Birmingham – fire in open

The next period of industrial action will commence at 11am this morning and members of the public are once again asked to be mindful of their own safety at all times, and to also do what they can to make sure that vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours are safe and aware that the strikes are taking place.”

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Update issued at 8:38am Friday 18 July:

During this mornings period of industrial action which took place between 5-7pm we had 12 fire engines and 3 Brigade Response Vehicles.

One incident was attended:

6:04 M6 Motorway RTC

Area Commander Simon Shilton said “The next scheduled strike action is due to take place from 11pm this evening until 1am on Saturday morniing. During this time we would encourage everyone to be aware of the their actions and ask people to keep an eye on safety at all times, and to do what they can to make sure that vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours are safe and aware that the strikes are taking place.”

Please remember:

  • any amount of alcohol affects your judgement, coordination and ability to drive, so it’s best not to drink and drive at all
  • if you’re going out for a drink, nominate a designated driver who won’t drink alcohol, use public transport or a pre-ordered taxi, or stay over with family or friends
  • drive appropriately for the road conditions, wear seatbelts and switch lights on if need be
  • stick to speed limits - they give you thinking and braking time
  • pedestrians: be aware of what’s happening around you at all times, especially when crossing the road
  • pedestrians and cyclists: make sure you can be seen - wear bright and reflective clothing; check that your bike lights are working
  • make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home
  • check that everyone you live with knows your fire escape plan and escape routes
  • dispose of cigarettes and other smoking materials very carefully - don’t smoke late at night and/or in bed
  • be extra careful in the kitchen - don’t leave food cooking unattended
  • take care on the roads - stick to speed limits, don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. (continues)

 A wide range of safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe. Regular tips are also issued on Twitter via @WestMidsFire

More safety advice for motorists and pedestrians is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website. Useful information is also issued via the @WMFSRCRTand @WestMidsFire Twitter accounts.

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Update issued at 7:09pm Thursday 17 July:

During this evenings period of industrial action which took place between 5-7pm we had 15 fire engines and 2 Brigade Response Vehicles and 1 Temporary Brigade available for deployment.

A total of 11 incidents were attended

17:03Rushall,Walsall– Water Rescue

17:05Witton,Birmingham– Careline

17:47Rounds Green, Oldbury – Fire in the open

17:49Stowland,Wolverhampton– RTC

17:49Princes End, Tipton – Fire

18:34Bromford,Birmingham– RTC

18:35Hodge Hill,Birmingham– Fire in open

18:39Gospel Oak, Tipton – Fire in open

18:46Erdington,Birmingham– Fire in open

18:49Toll End, Tipton – Fire in the open

18:52Rood End,Smethwick– Car fire

 The industrial action being undertaken by Firefighters is part of a national dispute with the Government over changes to firefighters’ pensions. The remaining strikes are planned for:

Fri 18 July to Sat 19 July: 6am-8am and 11pm-1am (Sat) 

Sat 19 July: 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am (Sun)

Sun 20 July: 5pm to 7pm

Mon 21 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm.

Tips to stay safe: 

• make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home
• check that everyone you live with knows your fire escape plan and escape routes
• dispose of cigarettes and other smoking materials very carefully - don’t smoke late at night and/or in bed
• be extra careful in the kitchen - don’t leave food cooking unattended
• take care on the roads - stick to speed limits, don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. (continues)

A wide range of safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe. Regular tips are also issued on Twitter via @WestMidsFire

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 Update issued at 08:51 Thursday 17 July:

Since the start of the industrial action by Firefighters at 6am this morning (17 July), we have had 16 fire engines available to deploy along with 3 Brigade Response Vehicles available.

Incidents Attended:

06:50– Wednesbury, smoke detector actuating

07:18– Radford, Coventry smoke detector actuating

07:44– Stockland Green, Careline

07:46– Tettenhall, Vehicle fire

Two of our engines were deployed to an explosion in a garden to assist Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

A reminder that further industrial action is planned for this evening between  5pm and 7pm

 

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Update issued at 7.05pm Wednesday 16 July:

This afternoon we had a severe fire on a railway embankment in Smethwick. 9 fire engines were utilised and the crews were able to scale the incident back through assertive and safe firefighting techniques only 30 minutes before industrial action started at 5:00pm. Area Commander Shilton said "Had the fire started 1 hour later the organisational business continuity plans would have been severely tested as over half of our resilience assets would have been deployed to one incident. A combination of luck and excellent work from our crews prevented what could have been a difficult and complicated scenario. We urge everyone to remind themselves of our 6 steps to safety as there are more periods of industrial action over the next few days."

Incidents attended 5:00pm - 7:00pm

5:02pm Willenhall: Lock in

5:03pm Edgbaston: Smoke

5:08pm Dudley: Skip Fire

5:26pm Walsall: Smell of burning

6:01pm Sparkbrook: Open fire

6:19 Perry Common: Bonfire

6:26pm South Yardley: Open fire

6:38pm Hall Green: Ambulance Assist

6:56pm Wolverhampton: Alarms

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Update issued at 8.30am Wed 16 July:

We had 15 fire engines and four Brigade Response Vehicles (with a crew of three) available to deploy during this morning's industrial action which ran from 6am to 8am.

Non-striking operational staff took over from crews who had been called at 5.35am to a grass fire in Wolverhampton.

We then deployed twice during the two-hour period - to a road traffic collision on the M42 southbound between junctions 5 and 4 at around 7am (no fire, no-one trapped, but crews made the scene safe), and to a flooding incident at a flat in Smethwick reported at 7.45am (crews were told they were no longer required on arrival).

The next period of industrial action is planned for 5pm-7pm tonight. 

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Update issued at 7.25pm Tuesday 15 July:

Area Commander Simon Shilton said: "We had 14 fire engines and six Brigade Response Vehicles available to deploy during tonight's industrial action, which ended at 7pm. Many of the 13 calls to which we responded were well-intentioned false alarms, or small fires in the open.

"There are still six days of planned industrial action by firefighters ahead. We're repeating our call for people to remain vigilant and to stay as safe as possible. We'd ask anyone thinking of having a garden fire, for example, to keep an eye on the weather forecast and to bear in mind that we will have fewer resources available during the strike periods."

Incidents attended 5pm-7pm:

5.06pm Chelmsley Wood: grass fire

5.09pm Longbridge, Birmingham: residential false alarm

5.10pm Coventry: false alarm, controlled burning

5.25pm Bordesley Green, Birmingham: false alarm caused by carbon monoxide detector

5.29pm Wolverhampton: fire in the open

5.32pm Marston Green, Solihull: fire in the open

5.51pm Handsworth, Birmingham: fire in the open

5.52pm Smethwick: fire in the open

6.07pm Sparkbrook, Birmingham: garden fire

6.08pm Harborne, Birmingham: false alarm

6.31pm Acocks Green, Birmingham: false alarm cause by smoke detector

6.48pm Sheldon, Birmingham: fire in the open

6.56pm Northfield, Birmingham: fire in a derelict house

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Update issued at 09:03am Tuesday 15th July:

During the two-hour strike by firefighters this morning, we had 13 fire engines and 5 Brigade Response Vehicles available to deploy.

Two incidents were attended - a fire in the open in Smethwick and a fire in the open in Newtown Birmingham.

Further industrial action is planned for the remainder of the week, and will continue with a strike tonight from 5pm -7pm 

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Update issued at 7.20pm Monday 14 July:

Non-striking operational staff attended 11 incidents during tonight's two-hour strike by firefighters, which ended at 7pm.

Area Commander Simon Shilton said: "Our contingency plans meant that we had 14 fire engines available to deploy during the two hours, plus three Brigade Response Vehicles each with a crew of three.

"More than half of the incidents we attended were fires in the open. In Coventry, a passer-by alerted us to alarms activating at a builders' merchants. We were there quickly, and soon established that there was a problem with a light fitting which we sorted out. Vigilance on the part of the passer-by and our contingency planning meant that a fire was avoided in a building used to store timber and other building supplies."

Incidents attended 5pm-7pm:

5.12pm Moseley, Birmingham: bin fire

5.25pm Spon End, Coventry: electrical fault, builders' merchants

5.35pm Ockerhill, Tipton: fire in the open

5.39pm Heath Town, Wolverhampton: fire in the open (field)

5.47pm Wordsley, Stourbridge: fire in the open (woods)

6.09pm Woodside, Dudley: fire in the open (grass)

6.10pm Friar Park, Wednesbury: fire in the open (canal embankment)

6.24pm Winson Green, Birmingham: false alarm (overheating burglar alarm)

6.45pm Walkers Heath, Birmingham: fire in the open

6.47pm Edgbaston, Birmingham: report of smoke in the area

6.48pm Coalpool, Walsall: fire in the open (field)

Please see below for details of further industrial action planned for the rest of this week, including a strike from 6am-8am tomorrow.

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Update issued at 8.05am Monday 14 July:

During this morning's two-hour strike by firefighters, which ended at 8am, we had 13 fire engines and one Brigade Response Vehicle available to deploy.

We attended two incidents - a car fire in Brierley Hill and and a road traffic collision in Lower Gornal. 

Please see below for details of further industrial action planned for the rest of this week, including a strike from 5pm-7pm tonight.  

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West Midlands Fire Service is reassuring the public that it will be working hard to provide the maximum level of protection possible during eight consecutive days of strikes by firefighters, due to start on Monday 14 July.

The industrial action is part of a national dispute with the Government over changes to firefighters’ pensions. Fifteen strikes in total are planned:

Mon 14 July to Thurs 17 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm 

Fri 18 July to Sat 19 July: 6am-8am and 11pm-1am (Sat) 

Sat 19 July: 11am-1pm and 11pm-1am (Sun)

Sun 20 July: 5pm to 7pm

Mon 21 July: 6am-8am and 5pm-7pm.

Simon Shilton, Area Commander (Emergency Response) with WMFS, said: “We’re asking people to familiarise themselves with the timings of the 15 strike periods spread over eight days, and to make safety an even higher priority than usual at these times.

“The strike periods coincide with weekday school run and commuting times, and the weekend when people will be at home with their families and friends, out shopping, or enjoying a Friday or Saturday on the town.

"We’d ask people to keep an eye on safety at all times, and to do what they can to make sure that vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours are safe and aware that the strikes are taking place.

“We’re working hard to ensure that we can provide the best emergency response cover possible, using operational staff who won’t be on strike. Clearly, we hope that this national dispute can be resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime, everyone can play a part in helping to minimise demand on the fewer resources we will have available.

“Most house fires are preventable, and the public can make a huge contribution to their own safety. Using basic common sense at home, on the roads and at work can make the difference between needing our help or not.”

During the strike, people in genuine emergency who need the fire service should call 999 as usual.

Tips to stay safe: 

• make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home
• check that everyone you live with knows your fire escape plan and escape routes
• dispose of cigarettes and other smoking materials very carefully - don’t smoke late at night and/or in bed
• be extra careful in the kitchen - don’t leave food cooking unattended
• take care on the roads - stick to speed limits, don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. (continues)

A wide range of safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe. Regular tips are also issued on Twitter via @WestMidsFire

Ends

Issued by Neil Spencer, Senior Press Officer, West Midlands Fire Service, tel 0121 380 6101. On Twitter we’re @WestMidsFire

Press Release Date: 
Friday, July 11, 2014 - 14:45