Don't overload sockets with Christmas lights. That's the message as firefighters are due to stage two strikes in just over 24 hours this weekend.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union will stage a walk out between 6pm and 10pm on Friday and 6pm and 10pm ton Saturday.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) said it is putting plans in place to be prepared to respond with a contingency level of fire and rescue services during these further periods of industrial action but is calling on people to spend five minutes to make sure their home is safe.
The checklist includes checking your smoke alarm works, unplugging any unused electrical items before you go out and not overloading electric sockets.
Avoid leaving electrical items running, such as the washing machine or tumble dryer, while you are away from home and don’t set your oven to come on via a timer when you are out.
People are also advised not to leave any cooking unattended and to avoid using candles.
KFRS chief executive, Ann Millington said: “We will again be answering 999 calls and responding to incidents across the county but we will not be operating at our normal level, so we must again ask people to avoid making non-emergency calls to us during these periods.
“Residents can play their part and take extra precautions to keep themselves and local businesses safe. Just a few minutes following our safety advice could make a real difference; for example, making sure plugs aren’t overloaded – especially with Christmas tree lights - and doing a five minute check around the home before you go out.”
The strikes this weekend are the latest in a series of walk-outs staged by the union in a dispute with the government over pensions.
The row centres on the pensions paid to firefighters who retire between the ages of 50 and 60 due to ill-health or not meeting fitness standards.
Unions say firefighters who retire early will be unable to claim their full pensions despite, in some cases, decades of service.