COUNTY fire chief Darran Gunter has urged people to only ring 999 if a fire engine is really needed, during two periods of industrial action set for tomorrow and next Saturday.

Dorset members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will be on strike as part of their ongoing dispute with government over pensions.

Union members believe government plans to change the pensions scheme could result in many firefighters in their late 50s being sacked.

However, the government says firefighters enjoy one of the best public pension packages available.

Industrial action is planned for 24-hours from 9am on Thursday, then between 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 21.

Mr Gunter insists: “While the industrial action is ongoing we will still be responding to 999 calls.

“Our priority will be to respond to those calls where lives may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued.

“If we respond to non-emergency calls then those most in need could be at risk, so please only ring 999 if a fire engine is really needed.”