HR staff have been trained to drive a fire truckA dispute has started between a north-east fire brigade and union members after HR staff received training on how to answer and deal with emergency calls.

Support staff at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, which included those working in the HR and finance department, have been on a training course aimed at training them to drive emergency response vehicles in the event that firefighters go on strike.

The fire brigade stated that it had been forced to take such measures after threats of industrial action made by South Yorkshire Fire Brigade Union.

HR staff and others who have received the training will not be expected to fight the fires themselves.

But local resident Barry Stevens, whose wife Nicola was killed following a collision with a fire truck last year, said the decision was “absolutely disgusting”.

He told local newspaper the Star: “To give somebody just four days’ training to be responsible for driving a fire engine is ludicrous.”

Firefighters in the area are planning to strike over changes made to their shift patterns.