The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced that its members will take part in 24-hour strike action, from 07.00 on Wednesday 25 February until 07.00 on Thursday 26 February.
The FBU is in a national dispute with central Government over changes to firefighters' pensions and working arrangements. The action will involve firefighters working in Berkshire and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) has put contingency arrangements in place to provide a level of cover during the period of strike action.
Deputy Chief Officer Trevor Ferguson said: "We will still be answering and responding to 999 calls. However, we will be prioritising 'life critical' incidents, such as house fires and road traffic collisions where people are trapped, and it is important that people take extra care during this forthcoming period of industrial action. You can help us by only dialling 999 in a genuine emergency.
"There are lots of very simple steps you can take to help keep yourself and your family safe, so please take the time to do so before the strike action begins. The most important single action you can take is to make sure that your home has smoke alarms fitted, at every level, and you should test the batteries every week to check they are working. It is also essential to make an escape plan in advance, so that everyone in your household knows how to get out of the house quickly and safely in an emergency.
"Cooking fires account for more than half of all accidental fires in the home, so it is really important to take special care in the kitchen. Never leave cooking unattended – if you have to leave the kitchen, even just to answer the door or the phone, always remove pans from the hob and turn the oven right down.
"Please be careful not to overload electrical sockets and if you, or anyone you live with, smokes, always make sure that cigarettes are properly extinguished. We are also asking drivers to take extra care on the roads."
For more fire safety advice and information on the industrial action, please visit www.rbfrs.co.uk