FIREFIGHTERS in Torbay will take part in a four-hour strike on Wednesday as part of a national dispute with bosses over pensions.
Crews in Torquay and Paignton will walk out at 12 noon and return to the station at 4pm.
Retained stations in Brixham, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and the rest of South Devon will also be part of the action where firefighters are members of the Fire Brigades’ Union.
Fire service bosses have urged people to take extra care during that period when a pool of non-FBU firefighters will be used to respond to 999 calls.
The national strike has been announced as part of a dispute between the FBU and Government over proposed changes to pensions.
Almost 80 per cent of FBU members voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot.
They are unhappy that firefighters aged over 50, who are no longer able to meet fire and rescue service fitness standards for fighting fires, could face the sack and lose their pensions.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government.
“Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions.
“It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered.
“None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.”
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service say contingency plans are in place to ensure the public will receive a response to all 999 calls during periods of industrial action.
During the period of industrial action, unless there is a fire confirmed the service will not be able to respond to automatic fire alarms from businesses.
Businesses are strongly encouraged to check their fire safety arrangements.
Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: “The majority of our stations will be available and the public will get a response to an emergency wherever they are in Devon and Somerset.
“Although there will always be a response, due to the likelihood of a reduced service, we will be prioritising calls to emergencies where there is a risk to life.
“Periods of industrial action are always difficult for everyone involved and the public can help us at this time by taking extra care. The public and business owners will find safety advice on our website www.dsfire.gov.uk.”
The fire service’s advice is to take extra care with these six steps:
• If you haven’t already got one, install a smoke alarm and test it every week.
• Take extra care in the kitchen - this is where most fires start
• Check your electrical appliances - turn them off and don’t overload sockets
• If you smoke, put cigarettes out properly
• Sleep safe - check everything in your home every bedtime
• Plan a safe escape - make sure you know how to get out of your home in an emergency