THE fire service is set to strike this evening - the first of several bouts of action over the festive period.

The Fire Brigades Union which is in dispute with the Government over pensions, intends to strike from 7pm to midnight tonight, Christmas Eve.

The next round of action will take place from 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 31 to 1am on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

Then, on Friday, January 3, 2014, further action will take place from 6.30am to 8.30am.

The FBU has also called for control members to refuse to undertake voluntary overtime between 7pm and midnight on December 24, and for firefighter members to do the same from 7pm onFriday December 27, 2013 to 7pm on Sunday, 29 December, 2013. The organisation has referred to this as "industrial action short of a strike".

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has plans which enable it to continue to provide cover in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes during periods of industrial action. It says these plans were successfully put in place during the FBU strikes in September and November and also earlier this month.

Emergency calls where lives are at risk will be prioritised, and Buckinghamshire fire & Rescue Service says it will continue to provide as much information as possible to help people avoid having a fire or other emergency.