A fire service has said it will still answer 999 calls despite a “highly disruptive” second strike.
Firefighters will go on strike for the second time in a month, amid a row over pensions, for five hours between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday, October 19.
Chris Strickland, deputy chief fire officer at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said crews would still be able to answer 999 calls, despite the “highly disruptive” strike action.
“As a small service, the impact of industrial action is inevitably highly disruptive as it requires us to stop doing a lot of our normal day-to-day activities so we can support our frontline services,” he said.
“We would like to reassure members of the public that we will still be able to attend 999 calls, where a person’s life is at risk, including house fires, road traffic collisions and vehicle fires.
“We will be doing this by using fully trained fire and rescue service officers to crew our fire engines.”
The government is planning to make firefighters work up to the age of 60 and has argued that its pension offer is generous.
But Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said firefighters can’t be expected to work until their late-50s.
“We had hoped our first strike was enough to show government that firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions,” he said.
“No firefighter wants to strike, and it’s desperately disappointing that governments in Westminster and Cardiff continue to deny reality over pensions costs and the need for a pension scheme that reflects the job firefighters do.”
He added: “Firefighters simply cannot be expected to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s and into their 60s, and should not pay far worse ratios employer-employee contributions than those in the public or private sector.
“We hope this second strike will mean both governments will be willing to discuss the full range of concerns that firefighters and the general public have expressed.
“However, more strikes cannot be ruled out if that’s what it takes to protect public and firefighter safety from these ludicrous attacks.”
The chief fire officer at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, Mark Hardingham, advised homeowners to be extra vigilant.
“Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is currently operating as normal and we will again implement our contingency plans during this second period of strike action. Our focus remains strongly on protecting the people of Suffolk and those who visit our county,” he said.
“During any stike, my advice is to be extra vigilant and take even greater care to prevent fires from breaking out. Following some simple steps can help reduce the risk of fire and road traffic collisions.”
For more information on the strike and further safety advice, visit www.cambsfire.gov.uk or www.suffolk.gov.uk.