A FIRE chief is calling for people to come forward as potential lifesavers if firefighters go on strike.
Ian Hayton, chief fire officer for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is currently balloting its members regarding industrial action involving strike over their dispute with the Government on Pension Reform.
“Any subsequent industrial action may take place in September.
“Whilst this is a national dispute between the FBU and central government, I still have a legal obligation to ensure I can continue to provide an emergency response throughout any period of disruption.
“Unlike during previous industrial action, there is no longer any military support available and there are no longer green goddesses to be called upon.
“This means that Cleveland Fire Authority may not be able to deal with calls for help from the public during these periods of industrial action.
“I am asking members of the public in the Teesside area to put themselves forward as auxiliary firefighters to provide a basic level of community safety from fire in the event of such action.
“I will employ auxiliary firefighters as a supporting force to professional firefighters I already have in place and I will ensure they receive training in all activities they are required to undertake.
“I am looking to recruit two categories of firefighter: Firefighters who will fight fires from the outside of buildings and support trained firefighters operating inside of buildings or conducting technical rescues, and firefighters who will drive fire engines to the scene of an incident.
“Through these measures our communities can be assured that we will do everything in our power to ensure their safety.
“This recruitment is purely a precautionary measure with successful recruits only being called upon should strike action occur.”
Anyone interested in becoming auxiliary fire crew are asked to call the dedicated phone line on (01429) 874023 between 9am and 5pm or log in online at www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/auxiliary.