BRIGADE chiefs are urging people to buy takeaways tonight instead of cooking in the kitchen as firefighters prepare to stage a 12-hour walkout.

The Fire Brigades Union will start the second of three national strikes at 2pm today in a long-running dispute over pensions and service cuts.

A five-hour walkout yesterday afternoon passed without major incident.

Essex County Fire and Rescue bosses say arrangements are in place to cover during the industrial action.

But they are urging people to take extra care by staying out of the kitchen and buying a takeaway instead.

A spokesman said: “The public should be reassured that Essex has strong resilience arrangements in place to keep communities safe.

“But it might be worth treating yourself to that Saturday night takeaway and keeping out of the kitchen, where a significant number of fires start, particularly after a night out.”

People should still dial 999 in emergencies.