SOME firefighters on the Isle of Wight are due to go on strike today (Wednesday).
The Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) confirmed last week that its members in England and Wales would strike from noon until 4pm.
The FBU is protesting about pension reform and wants firefighters who have to retire early because they fail to meet fitness standards — where other roles cannot be found for them — to be paid a full pension.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions."
Across the country 78 per cent of FBU members voted in favour of industrial action, however it not yet known how many Isle of Wight firefighters have declared they are taking part today, according to the Isle of Wight Council.
The council has said contingency plans will be in place to respond to serious incidents, such as house fires and road traffic accidents but it warned people to take extra care.
Just two fire engines will be on duty during the strike, however in the event of a life-threatening incident firefighters would come back to work, thanks to an agreement with the FBU.
Support vehicles will also be on duty.
Cover will be maintained by non-FBU members, who will work with the other emergency services and partner agencies, and priority will be given to calls where lives are at risk.
The council warned resources may not be available in some cases, such as animal rescues or people trapped in lifts.
Cabinet member for public protection Cllr Phil Jordan said: "Unfortunately, this is a national strike and there is nothing we can do locally to prevent it going ahead.
"While I hope the government and the FBU negotiate a satisfactory agreement so strike action can be avoided, I would like to reassure residents we have robust and up to date contingency plans in place to ensure life critical incidents are responded to by fully trained fire and rescue service officers."
Chief fire officer Steve Apter said: "I would ask members of the public and businesses to be extra vigilant during the strike action by checking fire safety arrangements and not taking unnecessary risks."