Strikes: stay safe

Update issued at 10.04pm, Saturday 14 December:

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

“During tonight’s industrial action we had 15 fire engines available to deploy, crewed by operational staff not taking par in Industrial Action. We also had three fire engines acting as temporary BRVs - that’s with fewer crew than we’d usually have on an engine. 

“We attended nine Incidents in total and again I’m pleased to say that we had no incidents involving anyone being injured.

“With the dispute with between the FBU and Government on going, there is still a potential for future strike dates to be announced. We urge people to continue being vigilant and to do all they can to stay safe - whether they’re at home, at work, or out and about.”

Incidents attended:

18.01 – Walsgrave,Coventry: Fire in open.

18.11 – Dunstall,Wolverhampton: Special service call, child stuck in a high chair.

18.11 – Aston,Birmingham: Alarm, life risk at sheltered accommodation.

19.12 – Willenhall,Walsall: Garden fire.

19.45 – Frankley,Birmingham: Inspection call.

19.56 – Sparkhill,Birmingham: Lockout.

20.04 – Chelmsley Wood,Solihull: False alarm

20.40 – Stoke,Coventry: Smoke Detector

21.32 – Heath town,Wolverhampton: Automated Fire Alarm, life risk.

 

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Update issued at 10.20pm, Friday 13 December:

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

“During tonight’s industrial action we had 16 fire engines and one Brigade Response Vehicle available to deploy, crewed by non-striking operational staff. We also had two fire engines acting as temporary BRVs - that’s with fewer crew than we’d usually have on an engine.

“Although the evening was busy, I’m pleased to say that we had no incidents involving anyone being injured.

“With another four-hour strike planned for Saturday night (14 Dec), we would urge people to continue being vigilant and to do all they can to stay safe - whether they’re at home, at work, or out and about.”

Incidents attended:

6pm, Ladywood, Birmingham: false alarm, hair salon

6.01pm, Kings Norton, Birmingham: garden rubbish fire

6.30pm, Bushbury, Wolverhampton: house fire involving Christmas presents, believed to have been started by an incense burner. Two kittens rescued  

6.37pm, Bloxwich, Walsall: false alarm (oven fumes)

6.55pm, Kings Norton, Birmingham: false alarm

7.01pm, Tile Cross, Birmingham: severe fire in ground floor flat

7.13pm, Tile Cross, Birmingham: false alarm

7.13pm, Willenhall, Walsall: false alarm

7.22pm, Solihull: false alarm, faulty smoke alarm

7.26pm, Kings Norton, Birmingham: vehicle arson

7.34pm, Quinton, Birmingham: false alarm

8.27pm, Edgbaston, Birmingham: small fire involving clothing left on a bedside lamp

8.56pm, Woodside, Dudley: fire in the open   

8.59pm, Acocks Green, Birmingham: false alarm

9.05pm, Ladywood, Birmingham: false alarm

9.26pm, Wednesbury: small fire in market stall

9.32pm, Edgbaston, Birmingham: false alarm

9.46pm, Princes End, Tipton: bin fire

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West Midlands Fire Service is urging festive party-goers to make safety their top priority this Friday and Saturday, with firefighters set to stage a four-hour strike each night.

The next industrial action planned by the Fire Brigades Union in a national dispute over pensions is due to start at 6pm and finish at 10pm on both 13 and 14 December.

Paul Burnham, Area Commander (Response) for WMFS, said: “Friday and Saturday nights are among our busiest times of the week. Thousand of people will be out and about getting into the festive spirit, whether they’re partying or late night shopping. And even if people are staying in, watching TV or putting up the Christmas decorations, we’re urging them to stay as safe as possible.

“Public safety is central to our contingency plans, and 999 calls will still be answered as normal. We will be prioritising incidents involving a threat to life, followed by those involving property and then lower-risk call-outs. However, we will have fewer fire engines available on both Friday and Saturday night, so it could take us longer than usual to attend incidents.”

Some WMFS staff who are not striking will help to provide a level of emergency response, but the brigade is asking the pubic to do all they can to stay safe and, hopefully, avoid needing to call for help in the first place.

A/Cmdr Burnham added: “People must be vigilant if they’re cooking at home, or later when they get back from a night out. And anyone who’s out for a few drinks needs to be as sensible as possible.”

He also appealed to entertainment venues, restaurants and food outlets, and licensed premises to make staff and customer safety a top priority on Friday and Saturday night. He advised businesses which are usually closed at the weekend to double-check their fire precautions in advance.

Whatever people’s plans during the two strikes, West Midlands Fire Service is asking them to make sure that they, their families and friends take six simple steps towards reducing the risk of fire in their home. The steps, published in detail at www.wmfs.net, are:

1.    Protect your home with smoke alarms
2.    Take extra care in the kitchen
3.    Check your electrics
4.    Smoke safely (if you must smoke at all)
5.    Sleep safely
6.    Plan a safe escape

People are being reminded to make sure that their electrical Christmas decorations meet safety standards, are in good condition and are well-maintained. Plug sockets shouldn’t be overloaded, and candles must be used safely and never left burning in an empty room.

Road users and pedestrians are also being reminded to stay safe if they’re out and about. Traffic collisions make up a significant proportion of all incidents dealt with by West Midlands Fire Service.

Tips for staying safe on the move:
 
•    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, with seatbelts on and lights 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.   

More safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: www.wmfs.net/content/stay-safe. Useful information is also issued via the @WestMidsFire Twitter account.

Ends

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

Press Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 15:15