People in Northamptonshire are being warned to take extra care as they welcome in the New Year this evening because of industrial action being taken by firefighters.
A walkout by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is taking place from 6.30pm on December 31 until 12.30am on New Year’s Day.
Another strike will take place on Friday, January 3, for two hours from 6.30am.
The FBU is disputing Government proposals on pensions and raising the retirement age for firefighters.
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.”
The service has also issued the following advice to residents:
O Protect your home with working smoke alarms, install smoke alarms on every floor and test them every week. Never take batteries out of smoke alarms for Christmas toys and games.
O Take extra care in the kitchen as more than half of accidental house fires start in the kitchen.
O Check your electrics, check and maintain your appliances, cables and plugs.
O If you smoke, make sure you put them out, right out.
O Make sure you all sleep safe – have a bedtime routine of unplugging and switching off before closing doors on your way to bed.
O Plan a safe escape and make sure everyone in your home knows how to get out in an emergency.
O Please make sure all Christmas decorations are safe and in compliance with relevant standards.
O Don’t leave candles unattended and always make sure they are out and the tree lights are off when you leave the house. Don’t leave children alone with candles.
O Bear in mind alcohol impairs the perception of risk.