HOUSING bosses were gearing up to provide lunches to elderly tenants in a bid to slash the risk of kitchen fires during today’s planned strike by firefighters.
Residents living in Housing Plus schemes across South Tyneside are being urged not to cook in their flats but instead take advantage of lunches being provided in communal rooms.
The move aims to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out while firefighters are on strike and is one of a number of measures in response to the industrial action.
Between noon and 4pm, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was due to be operating with a limited number of staff after a ballot by the Fire Brigade Union voted in favour of strike action in a row with the Government over pensions and the age at which a firefighter can retire.
Ministers want firefighters to work until the age of 60 before they can claim a pension – a move union officials say will put at risk the lives of the emergency service workers and the public.
The fire service called on residents to ensure they have a working smoke alarm and to take extra precautions, and for businesses to ensure fire safety plans are up to date and known to all staff.