Fire chiefs have denied claims that firefighters are not insured to transport casualties to hospital.

Amid a shortage of ambulances in West Yorkshire last month, firefighters in Bradford decided to take an injured woman to A&E in their fire engine.

The incident prompted a warning from the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) that fire crews were not insured to do so.

FBU secretary Dave Williams issued a statement advising firefighter members to try and avoid patient transfers.

Commenting in the Telegraph and Argus, he said: “Although firefighters are here to help save lives, in certain circumstances I’m not sure whether we are creating more problems than solving them.

“What if the casualty had gone into shock in the back of the appliance? There’s no drips or equipment like that to help her. We aren’t equipped.

“I still don’t know how being strapped on to a long board and shoved into a fire engine is safe transport.”

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But West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has now confirmed it has the appropriate paperwork in place to cover for absent ambulances, if required.

Area Manager for Operations Support Jim Butters said officers would still be required to step in on “rare occasions”.

He said: “We recognise that this is not an ideal situation for a crew to have to manage and the reasons why such a situation might come about are complex and to some degree outside of our control.

“We know that our crews recognise that in such an extreme scenario the right thing to do is to provide the care that the injured or distressed person requires and we will all provide that care to the best of our abilities, as long as it is safe to do so.

“We have been working with the representative bodies to allay some of the concerns that they have had.

“However, I can confirm that appropriate insurance is in place both in the form of our fleet motor insurance policy and public liability insurance and this is underpinned by a comprehensive risk assessment which will be complemented by a risk assessment on the day with the specifics of the situation we are presented with.

“Ultimately this is about providing the best service we can to the public and this is something that we will continue to do, even in the extreme circumstances being referred to here.”