FIRE chiefs in West Yorkshire will have to hand over equipment to troops if a brigade dispute escalates.
Members of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority met yesterday to discuss a plan by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to use fire service equipment if the Fire Brigades Union goes ahead with strike action.
The fire engines and equipment would be taken out of service in advance of any strikes, ready to be made available to emergency fire crews from the Army.
Clr Robert Light, the Kirklees councillor who chairs the Fire Authority, admits they had no choice.
He said: "We have to accede to the request for equipment.
"It is not up to us. We will be told to deliver fire engines at a certain time to a certain place.
"We simply have to plan to ensure we have enough cover in place".
The Union is currently balloting and are very angry that a long- running pay dispute is still not settled.
It seems likely the members will agree to go on strike, but the results of the ballot will not be announced for several days.
A sticking point over the agreement is Bank Holiday working, with the union wanting to continue as at present and the employers wanting firefighters to do normal working day duties, including fire safety checks and fire prevention work.