Rod Hammerton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) is urging communities to be extra vigilant and informed of fire and road safety during the period of industrial action planned on 25th September 2013.
The Fire Brigade’s Union are intending to take industrial action from 12:00 until 16:00, allowing any member of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service personnel that is a member of this union to protest in the form of strike action.
The number of SWFRS staff expected to make a protest is high and will also include operational staff. Fire Control personnel will not be affected by this strike action. This reduction in resources will mean SWFRS will not be able to provide the same high level of response to fires and other emergencies and as such life critical incidents will be responded to as a priority.
Following this however, the Service expects a speedy and safe return to normality on conclusion of any period of industrial action.
Rod Hammerton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, explained; “Whilst South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority understand why staff are taking industrial action The Fire and Rescue Authority has a duty and an obligation to ensure that the provision of services to the public remains as unaffected as is reasonably practicable”.
He continued; “Whilst I understand the concerns of staff in relation to pension arrangements, with the proposed changes affecting many people in a wide range of organisations across the public sector, my number one priority is to ensure public safety and a consistent public service.”
He explained that in order to provide reassurance to communities, safety advice and guidance for the public is widely available through the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service website, social network sites on Facebook and Twitter, as well as through the local news. But he stressed the importance of the following advice in the event of a fire;
“Business owners also need to ensure that their fire risk assessment is up to date and ensure that their premises remain safe from fire during periods of industrial action. Below are some fire safety tips for home owners and business owners”:
Business fire safety during industrial action:
To ensure that your premises remain safe from fire during periods of industrial action:
Business owners should firstly undertake a review of their Fire Risk Assessment and if any changes are needed, implement those as a matter of importance. Precautions should also be made to prevent the occurrence of a fire. This might be as simple as walking around the building at the end of the working day to ensure that there are no combustible materials in the vicinity of the property.
Owners will also need to ensure that procedures for reducing the chances of a fire starting are well understood by all members of staff and that everybody remains alert to the dangers from fire. What each owner will need to do is dependant on their own Fire Risk Assessment.
During any period of industrial action, the responsibility for maintaining the fire precautions within the premises of the business remains with the ‘Responsible Person’ for the property and therefore, business owners are advised to ensure that everything is in place, in accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, in order to ensure the safety of staff, visitors and the premises.
Rod Hammerton concluded; “If any member of the public needs to call South Wales Fire and Rescue Service regarding a non-urgent matter it would help us if they considered waiting an extra day to make that call”.
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