Firefighters respond to emergency calls during strike over pensions

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Fire services nationwide went on strike this morning (Monday) and Friday in a row over working age and pensions.

Firefighters across the area went on strike from 6.30pm to 11pm on Friday and from 6am to 8am today.

Lincolnshire, Rutland, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire were all affected.

The strike is a reaction to the government unveiling plans to raise the pension age for firefighters from 55 to 60.

The Fire Brigades Union fears the plans will put lives at risk.

It claims firefighters will be forced to work longer than they are physically able to, or will have to retire early without a pension.

Firefighters from the area joined their colleagues across the country in staging a four-hour strike on September 25 over the same issue.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service implemented its business continuity plans to ensure it provided appropriate fire cover for the county during the strike.

Lincolnshire firefighters attended two co-responder calls in the Spilsby area during today’s strike and five incidents on Friday including a car fire following a road traffic accident in Market Deeping.

A spokesman said: “All incidents were dealt with in the normal timeframe and to the same high standard as normal.”

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service responded to all emergency calls received during the Fire Brigades Union’s strike on Friday.

Eight fire engines were deployed at strategic locations throughout Rutland, Leicester,and Leicestershire and to ensure firefighters could reach all communities.

Response times were slightly longer than the public would normally expect, but the service’s contingency arrangements ensured that no one was injured.

Out of six calls received, fire crews were called out to deal with four incidents including a bonfire in Nightingale Way, Oakham, at about 6.30pm on Friday.

One fire engine was called out and discovered the fire to be a controlled burning. It was a false alarm and no action was taken.

Leicestershire fire crews attended three incidents during Monday’s strike.

Chief fire and rescue service officer Dave Webb said on Friday: “The plans we implemented to deal with today’s strike action worked well and at no time were we fully stretched.

“It goes without saying that we are extremely grateful for the ongoing support and co-operation of the public, businesses and our partners.”

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service attended five calls on Friday and one during today’s strike. All 999 calls were attended to.

Deputy chief fire officer at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Chris Strickland said: “Although the service we were able to provide to residents during the industrial action was significantly impacted, we were able to use our own staff and fire engines to respond to all 999 calls.

“We have a legal duty to provide a service to the community and we were able to do so by drawing on our on-call staff, along with senior support staff and our operational officers from across the service.

“We would again like to thank residents for putting safety at the forefront of their minds this morning and taking on board our ‘Be Safer...Be Slower...Be Vigilant...’ message.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service also continued to respond to calls during the strike periods.