Residents, businesses and road users are being urged to take extra care and reduce the demand on 999 services during the strikes by the Fire Brigades Union members at the weekend.
The FBU is involved in a dispute with the UK government over changes to firefighter pensions, and has called for a further round of national strike action between 6.30pm and 11pm on Friday night (November 1), and between 6am and 8am on Monday morning (November 4).
A spokesman said: “West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (WSFRS) has contingency plans in place to minimise the impact of the strike action and is confident emergency services to the public can be provided by non-striking staff and firefighters who are not members of the FBU. We expect to have fewer resources available and we realise it will be challenging to meet normal emergency response times.
“However, our experience from previous strike action has shown our contingency plans work, and how this is helped by the public taking note of safety advice and reducing the number of 999 calls made.
“Simple steps, like ensuring your home has a working smoke alarm, not leaving cooking or candles unattended, and extinguishing cigarettes properly can make the difference between needing to dial 999 or not.
“We hope the strike action can be avoided by meaningful negotiation. This is a national dispute and not one between West Sussex firefighters and WSFRS or the county council. We therefore do not have the statutory authority to resolve it locally but we do have a duty to prepare contingency plans and maintain services, for example during industrial action or other reasons for staff shortages.
“We therefore again urge people to take extra care, but to still dial 999 if we are needed for a genuine emergency. We will need to prioritise resources to calls where there is a risk to human life but we are still very much here if you need us.”