UNION bosses have “little faith” the fire service can keep people in Sussex safe when firefighters walk out across the country.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) yesterday announced members will join the national day of strikes on July 10 which will see council workers, teachers and civil servants all walk out.
Union chiefs representing FBU branches in Sussex believe East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services will be unable to cope with the walkout, which will see 200 firefighters across the county go to the picket line.
The strike will be the 15th in a series of walkouts by the union in an ongoing dispute over pensions and will be held in conjunction with other public sector workers demonstrating over pay, pensions and workloads. The firefighters strike will last between 10am and 7pm.
Jim Parrott, regional executive council member of the FBU, said: “We will be showing solidarity that our government is not providing reasonable pensions for firefighters and other striking workers.
“There is likely to be more action following this and we are trying to spread it evenly across our members.
“The services have said they have contingency arrangements in place to deal with this but people I urge people to be extra vigilant.
“We have little faith in their emergency planning procedures.”
Mick Cambers, chairman of West Sussex FBU, said: “All the workers are going through similar things and the strike make people focus their attention – I suppose there is strength in numbers.”
Chief fire officer and chief officer Des Prichard said: “We know there is a really strong sense of community in East Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove.
“We hope that people will look out for each other, will take action to make their homes, businesses and workplaces safer as well as pass on our advice to others.
“We will have contingency crews on duty but obviously this is a smaller number of staff than on a non-strike day. We will respond to life threatening incidents but want to make sure we also reduce the number of smaller incidents such as bonfires or false alarms caused by faulty equipment.
“If you do have an automatic alarm, make sure it is functioning properly, that you know who is in charge of it and you know what to do if it goes off. “Lifts are another area of concern. Make sure there are clear instructions inside the lift just in case it breaks down. Have the lift engineers number to hand and check when it was last serviced