SOUTH Tynesiders are being encouraged to stay safe while firefighters are on strike.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) will be involved in the Fire Brigade Union’s action this weekend.
The two periods of strike will run from 6pm to 8pm today and tomorrow, as part of the union’s dispute with the Government over pensions.
TWFRS assistant chief fire officer Chris Lowther said: “Friday and Saturday nights tend to be when people relax and enjoy themselves.
“Many people will be out socialising at Christmas parties and drinking alcohol, so we would encourage everyone to take extra care this weekend.
“More than 60 per cent of fires attended by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service start in the kitchen.
“If people are going out, we are asking them not to cook when they get home.
“If you cook under the influence of alcohol, you could easily forget about it or worse, fall asleep.
“It isn’t worth your life, go to the takeaway instead.
“People often light candles on an evening to make their homes cosy, especially at Christmas time.
“Please ensure you don’t leave them unattended, next to soft furnishings or curtains or on plastic surfaces.
“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.
“If you do have a fire, get everyone out of the house, stay out and call 999.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will be providing a limited response service during both periods of industrial action.
For more information on how to stay safe from fire, go to www.twfire.gov.uk.
Following the periods of industrial action, service will operate as normal.