Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Be prepared for eight days of strikes

With Fire Brigades Union members set to hold a series of 16 strikes over the next eight days Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is asking everyone to take extra care during periods of reduced cover in the coming days.

Essex FBU members will be joining colleagues nationwide in taking strike action between 12pm and 2pm and 10:59pm and 11:59pm everyday between August 9 and 16.

ECFRS has strong resilience arrangements in place and the public can dial 999 confident in the knowledge that fire engines will attend, but the public can play a part by keeping risk to a minimum by being safer, slower and more vigilant during the strike periods.

Businesses also have a role to play and need to be aware that during strike periods the service will not respond to automatic fire alarms unless they are backed up with a phone call.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Hill, said: “We have excellent resilience arrangements in place for each one of these strikes and the public should continue to dial 999 as normal.

“Although these are short strikes anything anyone can do to stay safer between 12pm and 2pm and 10:59pm and 11:59pm then we urge them to do that. This could be as simple as testing smoke alarms to make sure they are working, paying extra attention when cooking lunch or grabbing a takeaway rather than cooking late at night.

“People can also help us by keeping an eye on elderly or vulnerable relatives and neighbours and making sure that they have working smoke alarms.

“Smoke alarms are the best fire protection any home can have. They go off at the first sign of danger giving everyone the warning they need to get out safely and call us in to deal with the incident.

“We should all know how easily a fire can start and it is a good idea now to pay extra attention to the frequent causes of fire. Though we are issuing this advice now – it is good advice at all times.”

Here are some practical tips to help you keep your home and your family fire safe:

1. ESCAPE

Make sure you know how to get out of your home if there is a fire and that everyone in your home, including visitors, know as well. Plan your escape route. Make sure exits are always kept clear. Keep door and window keys where everyone in the house can find them.

2. EARLY WARNING

Check your smoke alarms now and change the batteries if necessary.

3. SMOKING

Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Keep lighters and matches away from children.

4. CANDLES

Put candles out, using a snuffer or a spoon. It’s safer than blowing them out when sparks can fly.

5. COOKING

Double check the cooker is off, after use and before going to bed.

6. ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

Turn off and unplug electrical appliances, unless they are designed to be left on – like your fridge. Have a ‘fire safe’ night time routine.

7. FIRE SPREAD

Close inside doors at night to stop a fire from spreading.

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