So today, commencing at noon, there will be a four national hour strike by members of our fire services and standing in the gap, as always, will be members of the British forces. They've been training to operate the equipment and understand firefighting and will, I am confident, be doing a good job. Alongside them will be contract workers (generally ex-brigade members) and fire cover will be in place (hopefully adequately).
The strike is about pensions and whatever one feels about people taking any sort of industrial action I have to say that research undertaken some years back showed a correlation between early death and doing this job, for every time the bells go down the life of a firefighter becomes just a little less.
Every time an appliance leaves the station on a shout the potential for injury, death or mental and emotional damage exists.
The Bible tells us that we don't muzzle the ox that treads the grain - if they're doing the job then they get the rewards and I'm sure that no one who has had a house fire, been flooded out or been involved in, or witnessed the horrors of RTAs would begrudge them a good pension for what is all too often a reduced time in retirement.
So today please pray for:
Those who will cover the fire grounds of the strikers and attend shouts in their place
Those who are striking that an equitable solution will be reached, and
Those who today will need the presence of any of our three blue light services (and those who attend)