Following a strike by the Fire Brigades Union today (Sunday 4 May between 10:00 hours - 15:00 hours), Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's operational response service has returned to normal.
The industrial action was in relation to the FBU's national dispute over pensions with central Government.
Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), said: “In the case of industrial action, the Fire Authority and I have a legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service as far as is reasonably practicable. As with all fire and rescue services, military support and the green goddesses are no longer an option to us in carrying out our duty to protect the public.
“The Service put its plans in place to provide a limited response service during the previous strikes.
“Trained fire service officers and staff we have temporarily recruited provided our reduced response. This included people who were successful during our last recruitment process but for whom there were no vacancies at the time , as well as former military and specialist personnel.
“This plan is not designed to replicate the excellent service our firefighters provide every day of the week, however it was aimed at providing a core response service in the event of industrial action.
“In the run up to the Bank Holiday weekend, the Service has been encouraging the public and business owners to take extra care with fire safety during the period of strike action. I am pleased to say that this appears to have had an impact and the number of incidents we have dealt with reflect the normal picture for this time of year.
During the strike period we received 15 calls and attended 12 incidents.
Incidents attended by the emergency crews included:
Nine false alarms – six in Newcastle and three in Sunderland
One skip fire – Sunderland
One car fire – Sunderland
1 grass fire – Sunderland
Tom continued: “I would like to thank the public for their support in taking on board the safety messages we have been promoting and we would encourage them to continue to do so throughout the weekend.
"We hope that talks between the two parties will continue and that any further industrial action can be avoided."
The Service has information on how people and businesses can stay safe from fire on its website at www.twfire.gov.uk.
Fire safety information is also available from local community fire stations or from www.facebook.com/twfrs, www.twitter.com/tyne_wear_frs.