PEOPLE are being urged to take extra care ahead of the latest Fire Brigades Union strike on New Year’s Eve.
The strike will take place for six hours, from 6.30pm on December 31, to 12.30am on New Year’s Day when fire service resources will be reduced in Hartlepool and East Durham.
Brigade bosses say that although tried and tested contingency plans are in place to provide an emergency response during this period of industrial action, people should take extra care as these plans will not replicate the “excellent” service provided by firefighters day-to-day.
Householders are advised to check their smoke alarms, drivers are urged to stay safe by slowing down and leaving ample space behind the vehicle in front and be mindful that poor weather conditions can create dangers such as debris and surface water flooding on the roads.
Those people spending time in the kitchen are reminded not to leave pans unattended and not to cook after drinking alcohol, which can be extremely dangerous.
Stuart Errington, deputy chief fire officer for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We want everyone to have a happy new year so it’s worth taking extra care and thinking about what you would do to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of a fire.
“On New Year’s Eve people may be hosting parties and spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing and cooking for friends and family.
“We would urge everyone to take extra care if cooking on New Year’s Eve, because 60 per cent of home fires start in the kitchen, so statistically the dangers are high.
“It’s vital that if there is a fire, everyone knows how to get out of their property.
“Every household should have an escape plan and doors and windows checked so that you know they will open should you need to get out quickly. If a fire starts – get out, stay out and call 999.”
It is the eighth period of industrial action since September. A ninth strike is due to take place on Friday, January 3, from 6.30am to 8.30am.