Date posted: 14.10.10

London Fire Brigade has withdrawn 27 fire engines from stations across London to prepare for the introduction of a contingency fire service should the Fire Brigades Union take strike action.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and even at this late stage I am urging firefighters to consider the effects strike action might have. London's fire authority has a legal duty to provide a fire and rescue service at all times, including during a strike - we are no longer able to turn to the military as we did during the last strike in 2002/3".

Fire Brigades Union members in London Fire Brigade are currently being balloted on strike action in a dispute over proposed changes to start and finish times for station-based staff. If a strike takes place, brigade chiefs say they can call on contractor, AssetCo, to maintain a contingency level of fire cover across the capital and the fire engines have been withdrawn as part of that process. Every one of the 27 engines has been removed from a fire station that has two fire engines, and the crew will remain at the station to provide additional resources to the remaining fire engine.

As part of the contingency arrangements a reduced level of firefighting services will be provided. The contractor will be able to provide firefighting and some rescue capabilities, and will be able to provide a response to road traffic collisions.