FIRE chiefs are giving out valuable safety advice to Wearsiders as next week’s day of strike action nears.
The advice come after unions entered into dispute with the Government over pensions.
Following a ballot, members of the Fire Brigade Union, including officers at stations across Sunderland, will hold a four-hour walkout next Wednesday, from noon until 4pm.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service says it will be providing a limited response service during that time, but officers are encouraging business owners and residents to be extra careful while the action takes place.
Assistant chief fire officer Chris Lowther said today: “Fires can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended, to electrical faults or candles being placed too close to furnishings.
“I cannot emphasise enough to everyone the importance of having working smoke alarms.
“Every household should have one on every level, and they should be checked weekly.
“They give you early warning of fire and can mean the difference between life and death, giving you extra time to get out safely, especially at night. Many people think they will wake up if there is a fire, but this is not the case, just two to three breaths of toxic smoke will affect your ability to breathe, and can make you unconscious.”
Businesses are also being advised to be aware and keep their employees safe.
Mr Lowther added: “Fire safety is something you take for granted when you don’t need it, but when you do, it’s invaluable – it could save your business, your livelihood, jobs and, most importantly, your lives.
“Lives are irreplaceable.
“Above all, if you do have a fire, get out of the premises, stay out and call 999.”
Those who smoke are being told to ensure that they dispose of cigarettes in a safe manner.
“Smoking is the biggest cause of fire deaths,” said Mr Lowther.
“Since 2009, 50 per cent of deaths in accidental house fires in Tyne and Wear were caused by smoking materials.
“There are real dangers associated with smoking in the home, especially if you are sleeping in a chair or in bed.
“I would encourage smokers to never smoke in bed and to always ensure their smoking materials are properly extinguished, especially as part of their bedtime routine.”