FIRE crews are continuing to give first aid to casualties even though some are not qualified.
One concerned firefighter said he and his colleagues believe it is only a matter of time until someone is hurt.
A St John Ambulance first aid course is no longer part of recruits' training and many current firefighters are not receiving refresher courses, meaning their certificates are invalid.
But Cheshire Fire Brigade has refused to reveal figures of how many firefighters have valid certificates.
David Williams of Cheshire Fire Brigade Union said: 'It has reached crisis point. There is certainly a lack of confidence and it has left us with a shortage of trained first aiders.'
The brigade said the old four-day first aid course was nothing to do with care towards casualties anyway and simply fulfilled their 'first aid at work' obligation.
However, a spokesman for St John Ambulance said the course included shock, resuscitation and treatment of heart attack victims.
Mr Williams added: 'At the moment it is the only training we've got that provides a level of competence of first aid. Firefighters without the certificate feel vulnerable that they can't demonstrate they are competent in dealing with casualties. They're also fearful of litigation.'
One firefighter said: 'When you're on your own and there's no ambulance there, you've got to carry out first aid.
'It's all very well saying we're covered by the certificate but most of the time the people administering it haven't got the certificate.'
He explained his own certificate ran out two years ago and was worried because techniques such as resuscitation were constantly being revised.
He also said he feared the compensation culture developing in Britain and added: 'I'm very concerned the brigade won't protect me and say 'you shouldn't be doing it'. You wouldn't have an answer because they're right. But there is public expectation. We're an emergency service.'
Tim Bevington of Cheshire Fire Brigade said additional training would be in place in the New Year and added: 'All employees who carry out first aid assistance at the scene of an incident are and will be covered by the Service's insurance policies.'