Industrial action

Update issued at 9.10am Friday 3 January.

Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response) said: “Although this morning’s two-hour action was shorter than previous strikes, it affected two of our shifts. However, our business continuity plans again helped to ensure that we continued to provide a response service to people in the West Midlands.

“We had 13 fire engines and one of our Brigade Response Vehicles available, crewed by non-striking personnel. We attended just two incidents, one in Walsall and one in Solihull, but both turned out to be false alarms.

“Some people are still on their festive break, which means that the roads were perhaps quieter than a typical Friday. Of course, that meant more people were at home. We’d like to thank the public for their efforts keeping safe, wherever they were.”


Update issued at 1am Wednesday 1 January.

Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response) for WMFS, said:

“During the New Year’s Eve industrial action we had 16 fire engines available to deploy, crewed by non-striking operational staff. We also had three Brigade Response Vehicles helping to keep our communities safe. We attended 14 incidents in total during the strike period.

“The next strike is planned for early Friday morning when, again, we’re asking people to be vigilant and to take extra care whatever they are doing.”

Incidents to which we responded:

7.22pm Caldmore, Walsall: smoke alarm activated by an incense stick in a high-rise block

7.31pm Newtown, Birmingham: false alarm caused by toaster

9.13pm West Bromwich Town Hall: false alarm 

9.30pm Quarry Bank, Brierley Hill: suspected house fire, false alarm

9.32pm Olton, Solihull: small fire involving window and toilet of a business premises

9.34pm Druids Heath, Birmingham: false alarm in high-rise block

9.39pm: Bratt Street, West Bromwich: false alarm caused by cooking 

10.20pm Ladywood, Birmingham: false alarm at supermarket 

11.03pm Walsall town centre: false alarm

11.23pm Princes End, Tipton: vehicle fire 

12.05am Ladywood, Birmingham: false alarm

12.14am Stoke, Coventry: fire in the open             

12.14am Bloxwich, Walsall: motorbike fire

12.17am Princes End, Tipton: fire in a bin room


Update issued at 12.45am, 25 December 2013

Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response) for WMFS, said:

“During the Christmas Eve industrial action we had 13 fire engines available to deploy, crewed by non-striking operational staff. We also had one fire engine acting as temporary Brigade Response Vehicle - that’s with fewer crew than we’d usually have on an engine.

“We attended 11 incidents in total, fortunately none of which involved any serious injury.

“The next strike is planned for the evening of New Year’s Eve. In the meantime, we’re continuing to urge people to stay safe and hope everyone has a very happy Christmas.”

Incidents to which we responded included:

9.21pm Bordesley, Birmingham: one man led to safety by fire service from a first floor flat fire

9.33pm Saltley, Birmingham: false alarm at a factory unit

9.44pm Willenhall, Coventry: three-car collision, one female slightly hurt

9.53pm Vauxhall. Birmingham: rubbish fire in the open

10.17pm Bordesley, Birmingham: rubbish fire in the open

10.26pm Bordesley Green, Birmingham: small fire on cooker, pensioner given oxygen therapy by fire service

10.31pm Handsworth, Birmingham: false alarm caused by cooking fumes

10.59pm The Priory, Dudley: small rubbish fire

11.13pm Willenhall, Walsall: fire in bin

11.15pm Tile Hill, Coventry: false alarm caused by cooking fumes

11.29pm Springfield, Wolverhampton: false alarm, faulty vacuum cleaner


West Midlands Fire Service has issued its ‘Festive 5’ tips for staying safe over the Christmas period, when firefighters are set to stage three further strikes as part of their national pensions dispute.

The walk-outs are planned for:

7pm-midnight on Christmas Eve
6.30pm New Year’s Eve until 12.30am in the early hours of 1 Jan
6.30am-8.30am Friday 3 Jan.

As families and friends prepare to travel, visit and celebrate on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, WMFS is urging them to make safety a top priority and do all they can to reduce the risks of fire or being in a road accident.

“This is a very busy time of year for lots of people, when their minds are on so many things and safety can slip down the list,” said Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response).

“We’re working hard to provide the maximum cover possible during the three strike periods. However, we won’t have our usual level of resources available, so we do really do need people to put safety first and remember our Festive 5 tips for a safe Christmas and New Year.

“We’ll be providing all the protection we can with the staff we have available during the strikes - but this will be a reduced service. We’re also asking people to take extra care during the strike periods, whether they’re at home or out and about. Vigilance and common sense can make the difference between needing to call 999 or not.”

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

West Midlands Fire Service’s ‘Festive 5’ tips for staying safe this Christmas and New Year:

1. Drinking:     None is the only safe option for drivers  
                     Smoking and drinking cause most fire deaths at home
2. Driving:       Plan your journey. Watch the weather. Don’t rush
3. Cooking:     Keep it simple. Don’t stress. #watchwhatyouheat
4. Sparkling:   Keep an eye on your lights and candles
                     Use fireworks safely. Give sky lanterns a miss

5. Partying or staying in: Keep everyone safe with working smoke alarms and an escape plan.
Lots more advice can be found at


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

Press Release Date: 
Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 16:15