‘Lives at risk’ as fire engines are removed from fire stations prior to today’s strike say angry union officials

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Fire engines have been removed from stations across West Yorkshire leaving lives at risk according to furious union officials.

Firefighters will go on strike from noon today in a row over pensions, but the Express understands that fire engines were removed from stations this morning and taken to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue HQ in Birkenshaw, so that those who will be covering the strike action could familiarise themselves with the equipment.

Dave Williams, of the Fire Brigade Union, said: “We haven’t been consulted with about any of these plans. It was with a heavy heart that we decided to remove labour between noon and 4pm and now we are finding out that pumps are being taken away from stations. We are very angry about this.

“If someone has an emergency before the strike starts, they will ring 999 in good faith expecting firefighters to be there in minutes, but some stations have been left with no engines without the public knowing.

“Not only that, but firefighters who were working this morning haven’t been able to do their normal training or duties on the station or in the community because the equipment isn’t there.”

There are usually 50 fire engines across West Yorkshire on any given day. It’s unclear how many have been taken out of the areas they serve this morning.

There will be a reduced number of crews available across the district when members of the Fire Brigades Union take industrial action from noon until 4pm today.

The strike follows an ongoing dispute between the union and the government over its public sector pension reform programme.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking the public to think about what they can do to take extra care, to safeguard themselves, their family and their communities during the industrial action.

If an incident does occur, the service can call upon other firefighters who will not be striking, as well as Community Response Operatives.

The service also has an agreement with those taking action that they will immediately return to work should a “major incident” take place during that period.

If there is a fire, people should still call 999 as usual.