FIREFIGHTERS across Dorset are set to strike for eight consecutive days as part of an ongoing row with the government over pensions.
Staff at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service will walk out between 12pm and 2pm and 10.59pm to 11.59pm from Saturday, August 9, to Saturday, August 16.
Residents are being asked to take “extra care” as the number of firefighters on-hand to deal with incidents will be reduced by around half.
Darran Gunter, chief fire officer at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, said crews will respond to 999 calls.
“Our priority will be to respond to those calls where lives may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued,” he said.
“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.”
Residents are being urged to take care at home and on the roads.
Mr Gunter added: “We are urging members of the public to take extra care to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home or on our heathland.
“Fires can start for a variety of reasons, from cooking being left unattended, to electrical faults or careless disposal of cigarettes.
“The best advice we can give is for everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm in their home and to check the battery is working at least once a week.”
The Fire Brigade’s Union has called the strike in opposition of government plans to increase the retirement age of firefighters from 55 to 60.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “It is absolutely ludicrous that a government can impose a scheme which means that firefighters will have to ride engines and rescue people from fires up to age 60.”
The government’s newly appointed fire minister, Penny Mordaunt, branded the latest strikes as “counterproductive”.
She said: "The action by the FBU is completely futile and counterproductive to the interests of their members and the public.
"I hope they will soon realise that and re-engage so we can get this situation swiftly resolved."