A Cleveland fire chief has said that the general public should step in as firefighters, should the services go on strike this summer.

According to express.co.uk, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is in a dispute with the government over pension reform and is holding a national ballot.

Ian Hayton, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Chief Fire Officer, says he has a responsibility to provide emergency services during industrial action.

Mr Hayton is asking the public to volunteer as either firefighters or fire engine drivers. He states that there are no qualifications needed, volunteers just need to be physically fit, reports bbc.co.uk.

Volunteers would likely be trained on the basics such as how to use equipment, put out fires and perhaps even how to conduct basic fire risk assessments.

During past strike action, the fire services have used the military and ‘green goddess’ trucks to temporarily replace firefighters but Mr Hayton says such support is no longer available.

He said: “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. Through these measures our communities can be assured that we will do everything in our power to ensure their safety.”

Although he also noted this measure is just a plan B and the FBU are hoping to avoid a strike.