A security company will provide fire cover in London if strike action announced by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) goes ahead.

Firefighters have voted by almost four to one in favour of a nationwide strike in a row over pensions, the union said.

No date has yet been set for any action, but the union said a strike could take place as early as September 6 once a week's notice has been given.

Members of the union backed industrial action by 18,277 votes to 5,166, a majority of 78 per cent, it was announced yesterday.

It said planned changes to pensions were "unaffordable and unworkable" and would mean an increase in members' contributions.

Kingston-based Tony Richmond, the FBU’s south west London area health and safety representative, said: “What we’d rather happen is that the Government comes to some sensible agreement with us.

"We’ve been in negotiations for more than two years. Other unions have come to agreements. We’re prepared to continue negotiations, it’s very simple for them to resolve this if they make a sensible offer.

“When I joined the fire service i was told ‘this is your pension, this is when you will retire and this is what your pension will be worth’ but now they’ve changed the agreement and our pensions aren’t even worth the paper they’re written on.”#

The Brigade said it will be issuing further fire safety advice in the lead to any potential strike date.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: "It’s a pity that we are in this position, but we are prepared and our contingency fire service is ready to operate during a strike. Last month we temporarily removed 27 fire engines from stations across London and these will be used by contingency crews to provide a level of fire cover for the capital.

"During a strike, my advice to the public would be to take even greater care to prevent fires from breaking out at home. Simple steps like keeping a really close eye on cooking and making sure cigarettes are disposed of properly can make all the difference."

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority entered into an interim contract in November 2012 with Securitas Security Service (UK) Ltd for the provision of Emergency Fire Crew Capability Services (EFCC) in the event of strike action.

According to its website, Securitas is a global knowledge leader in security.

Its website states: "From a broad range of services of specialized guarding, technology solutions and consulting and investigations, we customize offerings that are suited to the individual customer’s needs, in order to deliver the most effective security solutions."