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LOCAL AUTHORITIES URGED TO PREPARE FOR FIREFIGHTERS' STRIKE

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With the possibility of larger and more rapidly spreading fires during the forthcoming firefighters' strike on 29 O...
With the possibility of larger and more rapidly spreading fires during the forthcoming firefighters' strike on 29 October, Zurich Municipal is warning public service providers to be especially vigilant, assess the possible risks to their premises and consider how they might deal with an outbreak of fire.

Zurich has published a checklist and guidance document which includes: security measures against arson - such as the installation of CCTV and controlling access to parts of public buildings; maintenance procedures to prevent accidental fires; staff awareness and training; and measures senior management should take in the first 90 minutes of a fire, including evacuation procedures. It is vital that services to the community are maintained in the event of a serious fire and hence the company is urging the public sector to address Business Recovery Planning.

The guidance also alerts the public sector to potential delays in responding to fires, the use of older equipment and the fact that personnel attending the fire may not be familiar with the premises nor have experience in fighting fires where unusual challenges - warehouses, schools, residential homes, consortia buildings - create additional risks.

Larry Stokes, property underwriting manager at Zurich Municipal, said:

'Fire damage to public buildings can hit at the heart of local communities. The firefighters' strike makes it even more crucial for public service providers to assess back up procedures or contingency plans and reduce risks. A few precautionary steps can help reduce damage to local facilities, and help to minimise the devastating effect of fire on the lives of residents, staff and the general public.'

The Zurich Municipal Checklist and Fire Guidelines can be found here.

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