Firefighters to stage first walk out

Firefighters are expected to launch the first of two eight hour strikes today over a contract dispute.

FIREFIGHTERS are due to walk out this morning in the first of two days of strike action in a dispute over new contracts.

All four Newham stations, East Ham, Plaistow, Silvertown and Stratford, are expected to be closed during the action, which runs from 10am to 6pm.

London Fire Brigade has withdrawn one engine from Stratford for emergency use during the dispute.

The engine is part of a contingency fleet that will answer 999 calls during the strike.

The contractor crews will be able to deal with life threatening and urgent calls, including house fires, vehicle fires, road accident and collapsed buildings, but will not be sent to non-urgent incidents, including rubbish fires, fires on open ground, animal rescues, flooding, people stuck in lifts and gas leaks.

In light of the reduced service, London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson has appealed for residents to follow a five-step safety plan to reduce risk, including: checking your smoke alarm; evacuating your home in the event of a fire and calling 999; taking extra care when cooking and smoking; sharing fire advice with friends found at; and only dialling 999 in an emergency.

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A second day of action is planned for Monday, November 1.