FIRE chiefs are reassuring the public there will be maximum possible protection for the public during this week’s firefighters’ strikes.

The industrial action will start at noon today and run for two hours and be followed by one hour strikes from 10.59pm, every day until Saturday August 16 inclusive.

The action is part of a national dispute over changes to pensions.

Simon Shilton, area commander (emergency response) with WMFS, said: “We’re asking people to make safety an even higher priority than usual during these 16 strike periods.

“Some bad weather is forecast for the weekend, so we’d ask people to be especially careful if this coincides with the industrial action, and to plan ahead and travel accordingly.

“We’d ask people to keep an eye on safety at all times, and to do what they can to make sure that vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours are safe and aware that the strikes are taking place.

“We’re working hard to ensure that we can provide the best emergency response cover possible, using operational staff who won’t be on strike. Clearly, we hope that this national dispute can be resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime, everyone can play a part in helping to minimise demand on the fewer resources we will have available.

“Most house fires are preventable, and the public can make a huge contribution to their own safety. Using basic common sense at home, on the roads and at work can make the difference between needing our help or not.”

During the strike, people in genuine emergency who need the fire service should call 999 as usual.

Fire officers have issued a number of tips to stay safe during the action: • make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home • check that everyone you live with knows your fire escape plan and escape routes • dispose of cigarettes and other smoking materials very carefully - don’t smoke late at night and/or in bed • be extra careful in the kitchen - don’t leave food cooking unattended • take care on the roads - stick to speed limits, don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. (continues) A wide range of safety advice is available in the ‘Stay safe’ section of the brigade’s website: Regular tips are also issued on Twitter via @WestMidsFire