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13 December 2013, 07:04
Firefighters across Hampshire and Dorset will walk out for a fifth time tonight, in an ongoing row with the government about pensions.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced two further national strike periods, taking place between 6 pm and 10 pm on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December 2013.
A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service statement said:
'We would like to reassure the public that emergency calls will be answered and responded to during the planned industrial action by the FBU.
'We will remain in operation as usual throughout the period of industrial action and are calling for your assistance in reducing calls during that time.
'If you have an emergency dial 999 and we will we send an emergency response, but our level of response will be limited and may take longer than usual. Our response will focus on the highest risks to life.'
They've put a video with tips on how you can take extra care during industrial action and Fire safety advice during industrial action, on their website.
Meanwhile, Dorset Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) is urging members of the public to #TakeExtraCare during upcoming periods of industrial action.
This Friday and Saturday night is the biggest Christmas party weekend and DFRS are asking the public to #TakeExtraCare not only when they are out celebrating but when they get home too. Dorset Fire and Rescue will be providing a reduced emergency response service between 6pm and 10pm on Friday and Saturday night (13 and 14 December).
Darran Gunter, Chief Fire Officer said:
“Whilst the industrial action is ongoing we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we are asking people to only call 999 if they really do need a fire engine. Our priority will be to respond to those priority calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued. If we respond to non-emergency calls then those most in need, could be at risk.
“A non-emergency call could be to someone who is locked outside their house or where debris has fallen in the road. There are other agencies and organisations that can help in this instance.
“We do find ourselves in an unusual situation where we must prioritise our calls for those who are most in need of our assistance. However, I must emphasise that you should still call 999 in an emergency so that an experienced control room operator can deal with your situation. You must not try and call your local fire station directly.”
Dorset Fire and Rescue continue to ask members of the public to #TakeExtraCare whether out celebrating or at home. Fires can start for a variety of reasons, but over 50% of the fires in the home DFRS attend started in the kitchen. The Service is advising people to think before they cook, and consider picking up a takeaway on the way home from a night out.
The Service is advising the public to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working at least once a week. Smoke detectors provide an early warning of a fire and can give occupants vital extra minutes to escape, especially at night. But a smoke alarm can only save your life if it is working and the battery is checked regularly.
For more fire safety advice and tips on how to protect your home from fire visit the DFRS website.