Home owners, business owners and drivers are being urged to take extra care today because of the strike by fire fighters with stations including Wellingborough, Kettering, Rushden and Corby taking part.
As part of a national dispute with the government over their pensions, members of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) are taking strike action until 2pm today (Wednesday, November 13).
A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “This is a testing time for the UK Fire and Rescue Service and we continue to take every precaution to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. We have been planning for some considerable time to ensure that the service will continue to be able to respond to emergencies.
“Northamptonshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service is also working in partnership with our neighbouring authorities and other emergency services to ensure we have the right resources in place and we are confident that we will be able to provide an emergency response service to the residents of Northamptonshire and continue to protect communities.”
During industrial action, NFRS will only attend confirmed property fires and other confirmed life risks such as road accidents where people are trapped. This means NFRS will not be attending any fire alarm sounding in any non-domestic or commercial premises during the period of industrial action. However, people are being told to continue to dial 999 if they discover a fire.
Home owners are being reminded that there are a few simple steps they can follow to reduce the risk of fire in the home: Protect your home with working smoke alarms, install smoke alarms on every floor and test them every week; take extra care in the kitchen as over 50% of accidental house fires start in the kitchen; check your electrics, check and maintain you appliances, cables and plugs; if you smoke, make sure you put them out, right out; make sure you all sleep safe - have a bedtime routine of unplugging and switching off before closing doors on your way to bed, and plan a safe escape and make sure everyone in your home knows how to get out in an emergency.
Drivers are also being urged to take extra care. Fire fighters attended 486 road accidents last year.
Head of Community Services, Mark Ainge, said: “We have contingency plans in place and will be continuing to respond to emergencies, but this is a testing time for fire and rescue services across the country so anything that can be done to reduce the risk of fire is definitely a good idea.
“Resources may be stretched so we would also like to remind people that as always, only call 999 in an emergency.”
For more advice about how to reduce the risks of fire, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/fire