Contingency plans hailed as 'effective' as firefighters strike over pensions (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Contingency plans hailed as 'effective' as firefighters strike over pensions
11:02am Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
Fire chiefs hailed their contingency plans as “effective” during last night’s four-and-a-half hour strike by firefighters.
A reduced service, manned by non-striking firefighters and volunteers, attended 19 incidents across the county while members of the Fire Brigades Union formed picket lines outside fire stations in a row over pensions.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the demand on crews had been “broadly as expected” for this time of year and its fleet of 28 fire engines - compared to a usual 54 - provided effective cover between 6.30pm and 11pm.
A further strike will be held between 6am and 8am on Monday.
Dave Walton, assistant chief officer, said last night: “Fortunately tonight has passed without major incident. The number of appliances in West Yorkshire was approximately half what would normally be available.
“Our contingency plan has meant that we were able to deal with all incidents reported to us in an effective manner. The nature of the type of incidents is similar to what we would ordinarily experience on a night like this.
“Bonfires have not caused us a major problem this evening so we thank the public for heeding our advice.
If you are having your bonfire parties this weekend please remember to be safe and take extra care.
“We would remind the public that the next strike is due to take place from 6am to 8am on Monday and our message is to take extra care and help us to help you by minimising the demand on our services.”
He said the most significant incident of the night was a chip pan fire at a high rise flat in Sowerby Bridge at around 9.40pm.
A smoke alarm sounded, which woke up the intoxicated occupant, who then attempted to put the fire out unsuccessfully.
A neighbour intervened before crews arrived and dealt with the remnants of the fire.
Paramedics gave the occupant first aid and he was transported to hospital for a precautionary check-up.
A spokesman said: “He had a very lucky escape.
“WYFRS would remind the public never to leave cooking unattended or cook whilst intoxicated. This incident also proved the value of a working smoke detector.”
Members of the FBU are striking over proposed Government changes to their pensions which would force firefighters to work until they were 60.
Lee Indricks, divisional secretary of Bradford Fire Brigades Union, said members would be paying more into their pensions but would lose out if they decided to retire early.