Contingency crews will be ready to respond to emergencies across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove when members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) take industrial action. The FBU has announced a strike will be held for five hours, between 6.30pm and 11.30pm, on Saturday 19 October. It is the second period of industrial action in the national dispute over pensions.
Crews comprising of non FBU members and retained firefighters from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service will be on standby. The Service’s contingency plans are based on a careful assessment of risk, analysis of past incidents and the availability of resources.
Our advice remains clear during the strike - if you do have a fire, get out of the building, stay out and call 999. We will continue to respond to emergency calls and will obviously prioritise those where lives are at risk.
Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Des Prichard said: “We remain fully committed to keeping our communities safe throughout this dispute. Our contingency plans will provide emergency cover but this is inevitably below our usual level. We are asking members of the public to do what they can to reduce the risk of fire and limit the number of incidents that we are called out to.”
There are lots of simple things you can do to reduce the risk of fire at home, including:
- Fit smoke alarms on each floor in your home, keep them dust-free, and test them once a week. Consider buying a ten-year alarm; otherwise change the batteries every year.
- Take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking. Most domestic fires happen between 10pm and 8am.
- Make an escape plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape in the event of a fire.
- Keep the exits from your home clear of obstructions so that people can make their escape if there is a fire. Make sure that occupants can find keys for doors and windows easily.
- Take care in the kitchen - accidents while cooking account for 59% of fires in the home. Never leave young children unsupervised in the kitchen.
- Take extra care when cooking with hot oil; if you don't use one already, consider buying an electric thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer.
- Never leave lit candles unattended and ensure that they are in a secure holder on a heat-resistant surface away from flammable materials.
- Don't overload electrical sockets. Remember one socket - one plug!
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Don't leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby as this could cause a fire. Always switch it off and unplug it when not in use.
- Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully and never smoke in bed.
Further fire prevention advice for homes and businesses is available through our Stay Safe checklists on our website.