Firefighters: No Green Goddesses this time round

A UK-wide fire service strike would almost certainly see the armed forces attend callouts to blazes throughout the UK. During the 2002-03 strike over pay, Green Goddess military fire engines were drafted in to respond to emergency calls. But the vehicles were stood down in 2005 and most have been sold. Police also accompanied service personnel on calls last time round.

A new strike would also mean most trained firefighters would to be out of action and it would be down to the military, police and senior fire officers to run control rooms, allocate limited resources and tackle the fires.

Every rank in the fire service below assistant chief fire officer is represented by a union and that means the industrial action would affect the usual chain of command.

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A strike would mean chief and deputy chief fire officers having to return to the shop-floor of firefighting and carry out the tasks of fire crews.

During the 2002-03 action, police personnel were also forced to step into the fold and staff control rooms and handle 999 fire calls.

Senior fire officers ran activities either from their own brigade’s control rooms or from joint emergency service control rooms. All 999 calls were redirected automatically to the relevant control room in each district in a bid to make it appear there it was business as usual.

The 2002-03 strike lasted for about half a year, from winter 2002 to June 2003.