South Yorkshire fire boss issues advice

Striking firefighters outside Sheffield's Eyre Street Fire Station.
Striking firefighters outside Sheffield's Eyre Street Fire Station.

Fire chiefs are urging people to stay out of their kitchens on Saturday night – when firefighters are on strike.

To minimise the risk of blazes breaking out when firefighters are taking industrial action, Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney is urging people to order takeaways after their nights out instead of cooking.

He said with hundreds of firefighters set to walk out between 6.30pm and 11.30pm, the fire service’s 999 response will be ‘severely depleted’.

“We know that Saturday night can be a busy time for us, with people coming home after a night out and trying to cook,” he said.

“Alcohol makes you uncoordinated, more likely to fall asleep and less likely to escape if something does catch fire. So our message couldn’t be simpler – buy a takeaway instead.

“Our emergency response service will be significantly reduced during the strike period, so the best way to stay protected is to have working smoke alarms on every level of your home.

“If you do discover a fire don’t attempt to tackle it yourself – get out, stay out and still call 999.”

Mr Courtney issued advice in a bid to keep people safe.

“Have an escape plan – plan how you would get out if your house caught fire at night and think of an alternative route in case your first escape is blocked,” he said.

“Remember the bedtime routine – switch off electrics and close internal doors.

“Test your smoke alarms by holding down the ‘test’ button until it beeps.”

Firefighters staged a strike three weeks ago in an ongoing dispute over pensions.

Fire Brigades Union members are concerned at plans to make them pay more into their pension pots.

They are also fearful older firefighters, deemed unfit for frontline duties, risk losing their jobs because of a lack of alternative posts available for aging employees.

n Visit www.syfire.gov.uk or call 0114 2532314 for more fire safety advice.