Are fire-fighter strikes hurting reputation? have been recorded instances of organised fire-fighters since Roman Times, although most people would agree that the ‘modern’ fire-fighter, in the United Kingdom, originates from the 1666 Great Fire of London when large parts of the capital were decimated.

Since those early days fire-fighters have enjoyed a hallowed reputation. The often poorly-paid fire-fighter has usually been seen as a hero who risks his life in order to save the lives of others. This reputation is an enviable one and one that deserves to be protected.

However, certainly since the 1970’s, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) seems to be increasingly prepared to call out its members on strike.

Whilst not disputing that they often have a strong argument when pursuing the interests of their members over pay, working conditions and more recently pensions, is this the best approach long term?

In July this year the FBU called for eight consecutive days of strikes and again in August a further eight days of action were called for. These days of strike action are obviously a result of frustration caused by what the FBU sees as a lack of progress with talks between government and the fire-fighters representatives.

The concern is just what effect these all too frequent headlines are having on the public perception of the fire-fighter? At the present time we are, reportedly, at the end of a very long recession where many people have seen an all too real drop in their disposable income or have even lost their jobs as a result. Just how sympathetic towards fire-fighters are people going to remain if they keep going on strike?

Surely there has to be a better way? In this day and age, perhaps the power of social media might be a more effective way of campaigning and putting pressure on the government? This writer doesn’t pretend to know the answer, but like many others who love the fire service, I worry about tarnishing the image of the profession I respect and admire!

Are the FBU right to keep calling its members out on strike, or should that be something to avoid at all costs. Should the fire-fighter take the moral high-ground and use other means to get want they desire? Be very interested to hear what others think....

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Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

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