Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s strike cover will be tested this weekend, chiefs have warned.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union will walk out over changes to pensions three times this weekend meaning firefighters providing cover will be stretched to their limits, including recovering from a 12-hour shift with only six hours sleep.

The first strike takes place on Friday (May 2) between noon and 5pm and is followed by another on Saturday from 2pm until 2am on Sunday. A third is planned just eight hours after, at 10am, which will last until 3pm.

Chris Strickland, deputy chief fire officer, said: "The FBU has chosen to schedule a 12-hour strike finishing at 2am on Sunday and follow it with another strike just eight hours later.

"This means resilience staff will inevitably be tired come the third strike at 10am on Sunday, with a majority having had less than six hours rest.

"These strikes give us new challenges to provide fire cover for Cambridgeshire over the bank holiday weekend. The back up plans in place will not match the Service's normal day-to-day cover, but will be enough to ensure that life-threatening incidents, such as house fires, road traffic collisions and vehicle fires received a 999 response.

"Quite a few of our rural on-call stations will be available as normal and we will crew stations in urban areas with operational officers from station commander right up to chief fire officer."

Mr Strickland added: "The public can help us by being extra cautious to reduce the chances of a fire or road traffic collision happening."

Residents have been urged to follow the 'Be Safer... Be Slower... Be Vigilant' routine:

Continue to dial 999 as normal. Be aware that calls could be prioritised.

Smoke alarms - Make sure you've got one and check it works.

Know what to do in the event of a fire - get out, stay out and dial 999.

Share fire safety - Talk to friends and family.

INFORMATION: For safety tips and advice during the strikes, visit www.cambsfire.gov.uk.