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25 September 2013, 06:00
Fire chiefs across the Thames Valley say they're well-prepared to cover this afternoon's fire-fighters strike, due to start at midday.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union are unhappy at the Government plans to change the current pension arrangements firecrews have to align them with non-emergency public-sector staff.
Between 12pm and 4pm today, FBU members will walk out of operational duties at fire stations across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire.
During today fire service chiefs are asking the public to take extra care and refresh themselves with the following safety advice:
Reduce the risks
David Etheridge, Chief Fire Officer for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Fires can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended, smoking materials being carelessly discarded, electrical faults, or candles being placed too close to furnishings.
The best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working at least once a week. Smoke alarms 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. More than 50 per cent of fires start in the kitchen, so people are asked to take particular care when cooking".
Working smoke alarms are the best and easiest way to alert you to the danger of fire, giving you and your family precious time to escape. Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and get into the ‘Test it Tuesday’ routine by pushing the button to check your smoke alarm works, every Tuesday.
Have an escape plan
It can be difficult to think clearly in an emergency. Having and practicing an escape plan will help you and your family act quickly. When making your escape plan involve everyone who lives in your home.
The best escape route is your usual way in and out of your home. Always choose a second escape route in case your first choice is blocked. Keys for windows and doors should be kept in an easily accessible place and make sure everyone knows where to find them. Keep all exits clear of obstructions. If there is a fire get out, stay out and get the fire service out.
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