RESIDENTS have been assured that robust plans are in place to continue providing emergency response during the latest walkout by firefighters.
Firefighters in Hartlepool and East Durham will stage a three-day protest next month as the row over pensions between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU)and the Government continues.
The industrial action will take place on Friday, May 2, between noon and 5pm, Saturday, May 3, between 2pm and 2am and Sunday, May 4 from 10am-3pm.
There will also be a ban on voluntary overtime in England from 3pm on Sunday, May 4, until noon on Friday, May 9, the FBU announced.
Fire chiefs have warned the period of action will be “very challenging” for fire services as the protests fall on the May Day bank holiday weekend but have reassured residents “tried and tested plans” will be in place.
A County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said the brigade was “very disappointed” there is still no negotiated resolution to the national dispute.
But she said fire authorities have a statutory responsibility to provide business continuity plans in the event of industrial action by their staff and that robust plans are in place.
The service will use trained fire officers, professionals with years of experience, to both drive and staff fire appliances along with other emergency response vehicles during the period of strike action.
Firefighters in Hartlepool and East Durham have took part in several walkouts since the protests started at the end of last year.
Cleveland’s chief fire officer Ian Hayton previously said the brigade would do everything in their power to ensure safety for residents during the walkouts.
Stuart Errington, deputy chief fire officer at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We will be following tried and tested plans to provide a professional response in the event of a fire or other emergency during strike action on these most recently announced strike dates.
“These strike dates will be challenging for fire services across the country as they are set to take place over the early May bank holiday weekend when people will be travelling to visit friends and family and entertaining at home, perhaps cooking more than usual.
“As 60 per cent of fires in the home start in the kitchen this is a significant risk.
“We would advise people to take extra care and follow some simple steps to reduce the risk of fire.
“One of the most important actions that everyone can take is to make sure that there are working smoke alarms fitted on each level of their property.”
“These alarms can mean the difference between life and death.”