Fire crews set to be stretched to limit during 24-hour strike

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FIRE brigade bosses in West Yorkshire say a 24-hour strike will “pose a real challenge” as there will be fewer skilled firefighters to cope with demand.

The day-long walk-out announced by the Fire Brigades Union starts at 9am on Thursday and will be followed by a seven-hour strike from 10am on June 21.

In a statement, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said the first 24 hour strike in the current dispute over firefighters’ pensions would “pose a real challenge”.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling said: “We are very disappointed that a resolution to this ongoing dispute between the FBU and Government has not been found.

“Although we have tried and tested contingency plans, there is no escaping the fact that we will have less skilled resource available during this prolonged period.

“The level of cover and the standard of expertise at our disposal during strike will be significantly reduced, therefore I urge the public to take note of this and do their bit to help us by staying vigilant.”

Half the brigade’s fleet of 54 engines will be available and cover will be provided by non-strikers and 49 Community Response Operatives.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said extra staff would be provided at stations in larger towns, while firefighters who recently left the service will be brought back to provide emergency cover.

A statement said: “There will be fewer fire engines available overall so whilst we will still be answering and responding to emergency calls during this time, it is very important for you to take extra care to keep yourself and your family safe from fire.”

Heavy snow caused chaos earlier this month Photo: Johnston Press

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