Fire Strike: The Facts The Figures The Advice

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".

Smoke alarms

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.

Road traffic collisions

Road traffic collisions can be devastating, not only to those involved, but to their friends and loved ones.

Top ten tips

  • Reduce your speed and give yourself time to react – you never know what’s just around the corner.
  • Never use your mobile phone when driving, pull over somewhere safe before making or taking a call.
  • Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers are wearing theirs.
  • Keep your distance - remember the two second rule and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front.
  • If you are feel tired take a break, especially on long journeys - driving whilst tired could be lethal.
  • Be extra vigilant for motorcyclists - it is not easy to judge their speed and they can be hidden from view behind a tree, lamp post or bend.
  • Drive for the conditions - in bad weather stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads.
  • Regularly check the tread and pressure of your tyres, that all your lights work, and the condition of your windscreen and wipers.
  • Don’t drink and drive – if you are out drinking remove the question of driving from the equation, it’s not worth the risk, book a taxi, catch the bus or get a lift from a designated driver.
  • Don't pile up your car - store luggage securely as loose objects can become lethal objects when braking.