Take steps to cope during strike, says chief fire officer

Martyn Emberson
Martyn Emberson

Fire bosses say they have contingency plans in place ahead of another planned walkout by fire fighters this weekend.

The Fire Brigades Union has announced it will stage two strikes this weekend – coinciding with a number of fireworks celebrations.

Action takes place between 6.30pm and 11pm this evening (Friday, November 1) and for two hours – between 6am and 8am – on Monday, November 4.

Northamptonshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Martyn Emberson said: “I would like to reassure you that the Fire and Rescue Service will be there to help you in the event of an emergency during the strike period.

“Our contingency plans are in place to ensure we have the right resources available to be able to continue to provide an emergency response. As usual, we would remind the public to only call 999 in an emergency.”

He urged people to check smoke alarms are working, remind their household of the escape plan and take extra care on the roads.

He also said businesses should ensure a fire risk assessment was up to date, and that all employees and employers work together to keep the risks to a minimum in the work place.

“If we all do what we can to minimise accidents and preventable fires then we will be working together to keep Northamptonshire safer at all times and in particularly during the proposed industrial action,” he added.

More information about keeping safe is avaible at here.

Meanwhile, Northamptonshire County Council has said people enjoying Bonfire Night should be cautious to prevent accidents.

Baz Fox, Head of Community Prevention said: “Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. We want everyone to have a safe event, and by following some simple rules the risks can be greatly reduced.”


* Only buy fireworks marked as conforming to BS 7114.

* Don’t drink alcohol when setting off fireworks.

* Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.

* Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on each firework. Read them by torchlight - NEVER a naked flame.

* Light fireworks at arm’s length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick.

* NEVER go back to a firework once lit – it may go off in your face.

* Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.

* Keep a bucket of water handy.

* Used fireworks should be collected after the display with care. Douse them with water, then bury them or put them in a metal container.

* Wear a protective hat, gloves and have eye protection, such as goggles.

* Supervise children at all times.

* Keep pets indoors.

* Don’t let fireworks off after 11pm.


Sparklers are often viewed as a more harmless firework, but experts say that they can get six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil. They burn fiercely and are not suitable for children under the age of five.

If you buy sparklers, store them in a closed box in a cool, dry place. Sparklers are not suitable to take to public displays, as it’s often too crowded to use them safely.

To enjoy sparklers safely:

* Always wear gloves.

* Adults should light them for children.

* Hold them at arm’s length.

* Don’t wave them around.

* Don’t run about whilst holding a sparkler.

* Don’t hold a sparkler whilst carrying a child in your arms.

* When it has gone out, put it in a bucket of water.


If you must light a bonfire in connection with a fireworks display, then:

* Let your neighbours know about your bonfire beforehand, so they are aware.

* Site it well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs, and before lighting the fire check that no pets or children are hiding inside it.

* Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.

* Only burn dry material. Damp wood will produce more smoke.

* NEVER use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire.

* Don’t burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, and tins of paint.

* Don’t throw fireworks onto the bonfire.

* Don’t leave the bonfire unattended.

* Keep everyone away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised all the time.

* For an emergency keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.

* Pour water on the embers before leaving.