‘Keep call-outs low’ during South Yorkshire fire strike

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.

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Fire brigade chiefs are calling on South Yorkshire residents to keep the number of call-outs as low as possible during the strike tomorrow.

Firefighters are walking out for four hours from noon to 4pm.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service says it will have only around eight fire engines and four small incident units to cover the whole county during the industrial action, while contingency staff have been trained up.

Chief fire officer Jamie Courtney today urged people to take extra care keeping emergencies to a minimum.

“We really need people’s help to reduce our call-outs,” said Mr Courtney. “We won’t have as many fire engines as usual available, so need people to help us reduce fires so we can continue to get to people who are really in need.

“While the industrial action is ongoing we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we are asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home.”

He added: “Fires can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended to electrical faults, or candles being placed too close to furnishings.

“The best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and at least once a week to check that the battery is working.

“Smoke detectors provide an early warning of a fire and can give occupants vital extra minutes to escape, especially at night. But a smoke alarm can only save your life if it is working and the battery is checked regularly.”

The brigade is warning people to take particular care when cooking, as half of the blazes its firefighters attend start in kitchens.

Fire chiefs are advising people not to leave cooking unattended, not to use old-fashioned chip pans, and not to attempt to cook after a night out.

The fire service has also teamed up with the Electrical Safety Council to mark Electrical Fire Safety Week, which runs until Friday.

The organisation says thousands of fires break out every year because of burning fat in cooking appliances, or clutter stored beside heat sources going up in flames.

Spokeswoman Emma Apter said: “I’d urge everyone to clean their appliances as often as possible, and take care not to leave objects lying around in the kitchen.”

A roadshow is visiting Meadowhall on October 6.