FIREFIGHTERS have gone on strike for 24 hours.

The strike began at 9am this morning.

They are taking industrial action as part of a national dispute over retirement age and pensions.

Emergency arrangements have been put in place to provide some fire cover in Essex.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "Members of the public should continue to dial 999 in an emergency and we will respond.

"Businesses, just make a note to follow up automatic alarms with a phone call to ensure a response."

And in a message to residents and businesses the spokesman added: "It's important we are able to direct our resources where they are needed most during the next 24 hours, so please be safer, be slower, be vigilant."