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Emergency gas engineers volunteer to defer leaving dates to support response to coronavirus

Two employees of the NW’s gas emergency service have deferred their retirement to help keep people safe and warm in homes, hospitals and other buildings.

Unprompted, Mike Aldridge and Alan Brown have voluntarily decided to keep working.

They’re part of our team of emergency gas engineers, ready to reach reports of smells of gas or possible carbon monoxide incidents, 24/7, 365 days a year, within an hour if the situation requires it.

The North West’s gas emergency team is a vital service, with hundreds of engineers on standby 24/7 to get to reports of smells of gas or suspected carbon monoxide incidents.

First-call operatives (FCO) Mike Aldridge and Alan Brown are both 58 and due to retire this year after over 80 years’ service between them – but have decided to keep on working instead.

“We don’t know how many of our engineers this will impact, so it just didn’t seem right me going ahead with retirement,” said Mike, who covers a patch including Stockport, Tameside and High Peak. “Also, if I did retire, I’d probably just be at home, self-isolating, so I’d much rather be out there – as long as I am fit and healthy – keeping myself busy and helping customers keep safe.”

Alan, part of Cadent’s team covering the Lake District area, added: “If a few of the FCOs get this, it would put a strain on resources. So, I’ve decided it’s right that I put off retirement for now and help out. It’ll keep me busy and means we can help keep people warm in their homes.”

Cadent looks after over 21,000 miles of gas mains in the North West region, which deliver gas to more than 2.7 million properties, for central heating, hot water and cooking. Placed end to end, that amount of pipes would run from Manchester to Sydney, Australia, and back again.

Cadent also provides the gas emergency service for the same area, with hundreds of engineers in the region ready to respond to smells of gas and suspected carbon monoxide incidents. They are strategically placed to reach an incident within an hour if the situation requires it.

Extra precautions are now being taken during the Covid-19 outbreak, to ensure that if an engineer needs to enter a property, both he/she and the occupants are kept safe.

Jenny Moten, Director of Cadent’s North West network, said: “I’m immensely proud of Mike and Alan – what an amazing decision to volunteer to defer retirement as we all rise to the challenge of dealing with an unprecedented situation. It’s indicative of the spirit shown by everyone at Cadent.

“We continue to maintain an essential service, keeping gas flowing to keep people warm in their homes, hospitals and other buildings. We also continue to provide that ‘peace of mind’ service, with engineers here, ready to respond straight away, if there’s a gas emergency to respond to. The team is working around the clock to do just that and I am proud of every one of them.”

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