FIREFIGHTERS in Sandwell and Dudley boroughs are striking on Friday and Saturday in their protracted battle to save their pensions.

The walk out will take place between 6pm and 10pm each day and West Midlands Fire Service are urging residents to stay safe during the strike.

Area manager Paul Burnham said: “Friday and Saturday nights are among our busiest times of the week.

"Thousands of people will be out and about getting into the festive spirit, whether they’re partying or late night shopping."

He added: " And even if people are staying in, watching TV or putting up the Christmas decorations, we’re urging them to stay as safe as possible.

“Public safety is central to our contingency plans, and 999 calls will still be answered as normal.

"We will be prioritising incidents involving a threat to life, followed by those involving property and then lower-risk call-outs. However, we will have fewer fire engines available on both Friday and Saturday night, so it could take us longer than usual to attend incidents.”

WMFS staff who are not striking will help to provide a level of emergency response, but the brigade is asking the pubic to do all they can to stay safe and avoid needing to call for help in the first place.