Firefighters in South Yorkshire have expressed serious safety concerns for the public and their members over plans to use them as emergency cover for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue currently have 229 fire officers who have completed an Initial Emergency Care Course.
This is a four day course which enables officers to provide only initial first aid.
According to the South Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) the majority of the remaining 411 fire officers do not have this training.
A spokesperson for the South Yorkshire FBU said the union is concerned firefighters could put lives at risk either because they do not have the right training to deal with a medical emergency or because someone requiring a fire crew does not get one in time, because fire fighters are too busy covering for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Neil Carbutt, brigade secretary for South Yorkshire FBU continued: “The public are being put at risk because of cuts to staff, resources and equipment in both the NHS and the fire and rescue service.
“The knock-on effect means that fire emergency calls and vital fire prevention work will be compromised as well as the ability to respond to other fire emergencies at a time of year where firefighters are expecting to deal with an increasing number of incidents across the UK because of adverse weather conditions.
“Most firefighters in South Yorkshire do not have the relevant training to provide initial first aid. It is not right for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service to put firefighters in a moral and ethical dilemma by expecting them to attend emergencies which require an ambulance not a fire crew.
“We believe the public shares our view that the ambulance service needs to be staffed by highly-trained paramedics.”