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9:41am 24th December 2013

'Twas the strike before Christmas.

Cornwall's fire crews are walking out from seven o'clock on Christmas Eve until midnight as part of a row over pensions.

Cornwall Council said: "Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service will continue to respond to 999 calls and will do everything it can to keep the public safe, including during any national fire strike.

"This is a national dispute over firefighter pensions which we do not have the power to resolve at a local level. We have been preparing for the possibility of strike action and we have been sending out prevention messages to advise people how they can help themselves to minimize the risk of a fire.

"Now that strike action has been confirmed, the most important thing to remember is that if you do have a fire, get out of the building, stay out and call 999.

"We will continue to respond to emergency calls and will obviously prioritise those where lives are at risk."

Jeff Hick is a fire safety advisor in the Duchy. He gave this advice: "there are a lot of Christmas parties and people in high spirits. If they see a lot of waste outside of a shop they will potentially try and ignite it and these are the things we want to try and avoid.

"Stub cigarettes out properly, dispose of them carefully, take extra care in the kitchen, and don't leave cooking unattended. Try and avoid having bonfires, perhaps avoid any DIY projects which involve naked flames or which could cause sparks."

The following advice has been issued:

Take extra care and time to think about fire safety in your home during this period - checking smoke alarms, ensuring you know what you would do if there was a fire and not making unnecessary calls to the fire and rescue service.

Businesses are reminded to be mindful of their responsibilities, as during periods of strike action the Service may not be able to respond to fire safety enquiries within its usual timescales. It remains the responsibility of employers, landlords and other premises occupiers to comply with fire safety law.

9:41am 24th December 2013

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