Staffordshire’s chief fire officer is urging people to be extra vigilant while at home and on the roads ahead of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) strikes this weekend.
The FBU has called industrial action from midday-5pm on Friday, from 2pm on Saturday to 2am on Sunday and then from 10am-3pm on Sunday.
It is the seventh round of strike periods that the FBU has called during a long running dispute with the government over pensions.
Contingency plans are again being put in place across the county ahead of the industrial action and emergency response crews will be available at strategic locations across Staffordshire.
In addition, Mr Dartford will be based in the new Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control Centre to monitor the emergency calls received during the three strike periods, where the service will be prioritising life risk incidents.
However, Mr Dartford is warning the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that it will not be business as usual. He is urging residents to take extra care during the strikes and to only dial 999 in a genuine emergency.
Mr Dartford said: “We expect the level of cover to be significantly reduced during the three periods of industrial action. As a result of this, I would call on the community to be extra careful, particularly as many people will be out making the most of the Bank Holiday weekend, enjoying a drink and maybe a barbecue, with family and friends.
“While we don’t want to put a dampener on people’s enjoyment, I would ask everyone to be aware of what they are doing. If you are going out for the evening, take care on the roads and when you get home.
"Many house fires are caused by people who decide to cook after they have been on a night out. Think about ordering a takeaway on your way home rather than attempting to cook. Planning your weekend in advance and taking into account any possible risks, could save your life.”
People are also being advised to ‘Push the Button’ on their smoke alarms to make sure they are working. To book a free Home Fire Risk Check call Freephone 0800 0241 999, text 07528 983101 or visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp