The Fire Brigades Union was condemned tonight for failing to put concessions hammered out during talks to its members before deciding to press ahead with strike action.
Frank Sheehan, the head of West Midlands Fire Service, said he was appalled that an FBU committee had "refused to share" the brigade's offer to resolve a dispute over working conditions with union members.
The FBU served notice earlier this week of plans to stage two three-hour walk-outs on Monday and Thursday.
At a press conference at his brigade's headquarters in Lancaster Circus, Birmingham, Mr Sheehan said: "We believe our offer addresses the issues in their entirety.
"I am appalled that (the FBU committee) felt unable to put the offer directly to their members.
"There was enough there for them to at least put it to the members on the ground."
Mr Sheehan said he was still optimistic that an eleventh hour solution could be found to avert the threat of industrial action.
"I still want to resolve this," he added. "Our dispute is not with the firefighters - it's with the faceless committee who were not willing to take our offer to the firefighters.
"They are the best firefighting service in the country and I want them to work delivering that service to the public.
"The plea to the union is to negotiate again with us to see if we can resolve this before we get to strike action."
The commander of 143 West Midlands Brigade said life-saving cover would be provided by more than 380 personnel from the army, navy and air force.
Brigadier Chris Murray revealed that a Joint Task Force, equipped with 26 modern red appliances, would be based at 11 Territorial Army centres and one police station.
The officer said: "We are as well prepared as we can be to provide emergency life-saving cover, but we are not able to provide the complete range of professional firefighting services that our colleagues provide on a daily basis.
"We will only respond to life-threatening emergencies."
More on this story in Saturday's Birmingham Post