Firefighters on strike

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to avoid making unnecessary 999 calls, and to minimise the risks of fire, ahead of planned strike action.

No major fire incidents during industrial action

Around 90 Cumbrian firefighters manned pickets at stations around the county between 12pm and 4pm.

The Fire Brigades Union balloted members on strike action in response to government plans to change firefighters' pensions, and 80% of those who voted were in favour of strike action.

Firefighters are concerned that having to work until the age of 60 means that some may not pass required fitness tests as they approach retirement.

They are worried that this could compromise their jobs and pensions.

No major fire incidents were reported during the four hour period.

Fire chiefs had contingency plans in place, and while all 999 calls were being answered, responses were prioritised.

Normal fire services have now resumed.

Some incidents may receive no repsonse

A Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) spokesman said that it was understood that if a serious incident occurred, some striking members would leave the picket line.

They said that some incidents where life is not considered to be at immediate risk, such as small fires and automatic fire alarms, may receive a reduced or even no response.

"The FBU is not striking in Scotland following a separate agreement - the action is just in England and Wales - and we work closely with neighbouring brigades."

– CFRS Spokesman

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Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service urges caution ahead of strike action

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to avoid making unnecessary 999 calls, and to minimise the risks of fire, ahead of planned strike action.

Firefighters in our region are staging the walkout between noon and 4pm.

The strike has been called by the Fire Brigades Union in response to a dispute with the Government over proposed changes to firefighter pensions.

Fire and Rescue Services will be operating at a reduced emergency response level during the period of strike action.

Although 999 calls will continue to be answered as normal, fire officers have said that the response to incidents where life is considered to be in danger will be prioritised.

"Our highest priority during industrial action will be to respond to those crucial calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued.

"If we respond to low priority calls then those most in need could be at risk."

– Ian Cartwright, Cumbria's deputy chief fire officer