Contingency plans in place for strike, says Cleveland Fire Brigade chief

Ian Hayton

Ian Hayton

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CLEVELAND Fire Brigade’s chief fire officer says he is “disappointed” that a settlement could not be reached to save strike action next week.

But Ian Hayton had reassured residents that a “professional emergency response” will be provided throughout any period of disruption.

Earlier this week the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) announced that members will take part in industrial action for four hours - from noon-4pm next Wednesday, September 25 in a row over pensions.

Mr Hayton previously sparked controversy when he called for members of the public to come forward and be trained to man engines and help in the contingency plans should the strike go ahead.

And after next week’s walkout was confirmed, he said: “We are disappointed that a negotiated settlement could not be reached in this national dispute.

“The safety of our communities is, and always will be our number one priority, and I can reassure that public we will provide a professional emergency response throughout any period of disruption.

“We will respond promptly to all emergency calls received and the community volunteers who have come forward to be trained as auxiliary firefighters will play a large part in that response.”

Should the walkout go ahead before any arrangement between the union and Government, it will be the first national firefighters’ strike for more than a decade.

The withdrawal of military support during period of industrial action by the Government has meant the fire and rescue services have had to make other arrangements to provide cover. Auxiliary firefighters have been receiving training over the last few weeks in all of the activities they will be required to do as they support professional firefighters who aren’t involved in the strike action.

But fire bosses are still urging residents to take care to reduce the risk of a blaze during the walkout.

My Hayton added: “We are asking members of the public to take extra in order to reduce the risk of a fire in their homes, businesses and communities.

“Over the next few days we will provide advice, support and guidance on how to stay safe in the press, online and distributed across Cleveland, so please take some time to access and this potentially life-saving information.”