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"If you can't do that, you will be dismissed without a pension who would want to be in a pension scheme you can't achieve."

Passing drivers in Benefer Way sounded their horns as they passed the picket line.

"There is a compromise available but they don't seem to want to take it. We have had no negativity from the public for what we are doing Nike Zoom Hyperrev 2014

"On a personal basis, while I understand the need for pension reform, my issue is that the government is forcing a system on us that is not suitable.

Alan Jaye, crew manager at Gorleston and Earlham, said the action was "unfortunate" and "the last line of resort," adding: "We do not want to be doing this because we are a public service and we care about our communities. But we have got to think about our futures and 60 year old firemen going into buildings."

Placard waving firefighters at Great Yarmouth and Gorleston also joined the strike with all of the crews full time and retained taking part meaning all four fire engines were unavailable from 12pm to 4pm.

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"This industrial action was the last case scenario for us. It is our job to look after people we didn't want to walk away. But we have been backed into a corner, and so this was the last course of action."

Most fire fighters claim they will not be able to stay occupationally fit enough to reach the new retirement age, so they will have to either leave early with no pension, or be sacked.

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Ministers said the industrial action was unnecessary and called the pension offer "generous".

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He said: "The turn out's been good. This is a national gesture to try and get the government round the table to talk to us about the pension offer.

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Norfolk's Fire and Rescue's 999 service continued to operate during the strike action, and the county's fire chief, Nigel Williams afterwards thanked the people of Norfolk for the way they responded.

Members of the Fire Brigades' Union took to the picket lines between noon and 4pm, with every full time station in Norfolk joining the walk out.

Andy Vingoe, FBU brigade chairman in Suffolk, said: "Every full time station in Suffolk walked out, bar one, so it was a very good turn out. People driving by were also very supportive. The public understands Nike Zoom Crusader 2015

fire station, said there were five full time members of USAR on the picket line with retained firefighters also booking themselves as unavailable in the afternoon.

"It's about educating people who are not necessarily bothered about firefighters' pensions, and maybe just focused on their own livelihoods in this difficult economic climate.

He said: "The government's own report, the Williams Report, states over 66pc of firefighters aren't going to be able to achieve a retirement age of 60.

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Firefighters said they were striking because the government had introduced a new law that means they must work until they are 60 before they can retire on a pension.

"I don't think anybody firefighters or the public wants 60 year olds to be responding to fires and trying to save lives. The government's evidence suggests that the fitness levels required will be very challenging for 55 year olds to achieve, and then will be even harder to maintain. And the challenges for female firefighters will be even harder."

Firefighters at King's Lynn fire station walked out at noon and formed a picket line outside, joined by colleagues from off duty watches at the station and members of the town's trades' council.

Stefan Rider, operational support officer at Carrow station, and a member of the FBU, said: "We hope the government sees from today's action how resolute we are, and that it will enter into a meaningful discussion with us.

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that this will put lives at risk."

Members of the FBU also gathered outside the fire station in Chartwell Road, including David Brett, who is normally based at headquarters in Hethersett, but was off duty and joined colleagues.

Firefighters outside Carrow Fire Station, Norwich during their strike action. Photo: Steve Adams

Fire stations back to normal after 4

Lynn firefighter Peter Greeves said support had been unanimous at the station, because proposed changes affected them all.

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Firefighters also staged a walk out in Lowestoft and Phil Johnston, the town's FBU branch secretary said: "Here at (the main) south Lowestoft fire station, 23 of us walked out from this station the whole duty watch and there was no one working at this station or Lowestoft north, where the on call crew made themselves unavailable.

He said: "We don't want to be on strike. I went on strike before and it was very stressful, but we believe in what we are doing and are against what the government is doing to our pensions.

"It's not about more money. It's about maintaining the terms and conditions everybody signed up to when they joined the national fire service.

During the 4 hour period the county's fire control room took just three calls, and attended just one a stubble fire at Hickling.

"Even the government's own evidence shows that it won't be safe for the public, because four out of five current employees won't be fit enough to continue doing the job, or to rescue people from their homes, up to the age of 60, which they want us to Nike Zoom Womens Shoes work to."

In Norwich, FBU members walked out at noon and joined picket lines at stations in Carrow, Chartwell Road, Sprowston and Earlham.

Duncan Barrow, watch manager, USAR (urban search and rescue) at Dereham Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Pink

and quite a bit of support from people driving past beeping their horns and waving or giving thumbs up."

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