Senior fire officers in the West Midlands have pledged that looming budget cuts next year will not lead to delays in answering 999 calls.
They insisted that, even if the cuts meant they have fewer fire engines, lives and properties would not be put at risk.
Calls would be prioritised so that less serious incidents, such as car fires and automatic fire alarms would receive a slower response time.
The pledge was made during a meeting of the West Midlands Fire Authority’s executive committee on Monday.
Members were told that the brigade currently enjoyed one of the fastest response times in the country, with the first fire engine reaching incidents within five minutes, and the second within seven minutes.
Fire prevention and community work had also led to a drop in the number of fires in recent years, members were told.
But during the meeting members were warned that the Government’s spending review, due to be announced next month, could affect these times. Under this, the brigade will have to reduce its spending by at least 25 per cent, which could result in fewer fire engines.
Deputy chief fire officer Martin Clark said: “It is likely that increasing financial pressures, combined with the brigade’s notable success in driving down incident numbers in recent years, will bring about a situation where the attendance time standards will need to be reviewed.”
He said they would keep their current response times by adopting a new “prioritising” system.
Mr Clark said that, at the moment, all calls were “lumped together” and given the same response time.
Fire authority member, Coun Neil Eustace (Lib Dem, Birmingham) said: “It’s great we have got these fast response times and I don’t want to see them go back.
“I would be very disappointed if we took longer to get to incidents to save money.”