FIRE chiefs in West Yorkshire admit that a series of one and two hour strikes by firefighters in the week ahead will prove a "challenge" for the service.

The Fire Brigades Union will strike from tomorrow until the following Saturday for two hours from noon and one hour from 10.59 pm each day in their national dispute over pension changes.

During those periods fire cover will be provided by staff who are not union members and a squad of staff who have been trained to act as stand-in firefighters.

In previous strike periods, the service has had about half its normal fleet of fire engines available.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Rhodes (pictured) said: “The short but frequent periods of strike will pose a challenge for us, but safety is our priority when planning for such circumstances and this industrial action is no exception.

"The public of West Yorkshire can rest assured that our contingency arrangements mean we will provide the best cover possible.

“The communities of West Yorkshire have been very receptive in the past to our community safety campaigns and we ask them yet again to take extra care to ensure you and your families stay safe.”

Key safety messages include taking care while cooking and never to do so while under the influence of drink or drugs, to ensure electrical sockets are not overloaded and when driving to stick to speed limits, avoid drink driving and to wear seatbelts.