FIRE service bosses in Warwickshire are bracing themselves for today's four-hour strike by firefighters and hoping there will be no major incidents during the walkout.
On Monday Andy Hickmott, the county’s chief fire officer, said the service would be doing its best to maintain public safety during the period of reduced cover.
He said: “We will be taking 999 calls during the strike but we won’t be able to respond to all requests as we anticipate a reduced level of cover. We have run a number of exercises to test our contingency planning to prepare for the strike.
“Our focus will be to prioritise calls where a life may be at risk or if someone needs to be rescued. Our response must be to those most in need of our assistance.
“We would ask the public to make 999 calls wisely so that only emergency calls are made, but if in doubt then they must not hesitate to still call 999.
Members of the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) will be staging the action as “a shot across the bows” to the government in a dispute over pensions and a change to firefighters’ retirement age.
Marcus Giles, secretary of Warwickshire FBU, said: “We still want to have a negotiated settlement. The doors are still open to talk to the government. This is a warning shot to say ‘Let’s talk’.”
There are 400 firefighters, retained firefighters and fire officers in Warwickshire. Not all of them were due to be on duty tomorrow.
Of those that are, Mr Giles said: “Most of them are walking out, but some non-FBU members won’t be involved in the strike.”
The strike will take place between noon and 4pm.
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