Fen firemen join national strike

Firefighters on strike in Huntingdon

Firefighters on strike in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

Firemen in Fenland are on strike for the first time in 25 years as part of a national walk-out in a row over pensions.

In the first three hours no incidents occurred in the Fens although crew reassured the public they would still attend emergency call outs where a person’s life was at risk.

Everyone in Cambridgeshire has been urged to Be Safer…Be Slower…Be Vigilant between noon and 4pm today, while the national Fire Brigade Union (FBU) strike goes ahead.

During the strike the county’s fire crew promised to continue to function but with reduced cover.

Chris Strickland from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We would like to reassure members of the public that we will still be able to attend

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999 calls, where a person’s life is at risk, including house fires, road traffic collisions and vehicle fires.

“These plans will not match the Service’s normal day-to-day cover, but will be enough to ensure that life-threatening incidents, such as house fires, road traffic collisions and vehicle fires receive a 999 response.

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“We will attend using fully trained fire and rescue service officers to crew our fire engines.

“By embracing the Be Safer…Be Slower…Be Vigilant motto, members of the public can greatly assist us by reducing their chances of dialling 999.”

Keith Handscomb, East Anglia FBU: “Responding to terrorist attacks, flash-floods, rescuing people and their families from car, train and plane crashes - and of course fighting fires inside very hot, smoke-filled, burning buildings - is a dangerous, dirty and physically demanding job.

“It’s not a job for the faint-hearted and, as the Government’s own expert evidence shows, it’s not a job firefighters can perform at the high fitness levels required up to the age of 60.

“But despite their own expert report highlighting the dangers the Government has decided 60 year old firefighters it will be. The same expert evidence also points out that up to two-thirds of firefighters will face the sack in their late 50’s as a result before they can even reach their new pension age. The whole situation is ludicrous!”

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