Turning in graves

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Elm Lane was a wartime fire station and, since the war, had one full time pump and occasionally between four and six Civil Defence appliances (Green Goddesses).

In the mid 60s a further appliance was located there as a spare. Around this time also the water tender appliance was replaced by a Merryweather Pump Escape.

At the time, Sheffield council was building many maisonettes and access to them was limited and the escape ladders were then out-dated. A new ladder was introduced on the Merryweather and from this there developed Lacon alloy ladders which most appliances carry.

In the late 60s Sheffield took over responsibilities for petrol storage at Ecclesfield together with a proposed heliport at Shirecliffe top. It was decided a Snorkel was to be stationed at Elm Lane, which meant two personnel were added to each watch.

When the petrol site closed and the motorway was increasingly used, the Snorkel was replaced by a Land Rover rescue tender.

Over the years this stationed has responded to many changes and I would ask firefighters there what does the area really need?

I’d also ask the Chief Officer if the appliances they are purchasing are really fit for purpose? I have a feeling that many old chiefs of the County Borough that make up South Yorkshire will be spinning in their graves at what has become of their brigades.

It’s true that people only appreciate emergency services when they need help. Yet the fire authority is supposed to anticipate potential disasters and have the answer to such needs as required.

It’s all very well shutting down stations and reducing manpower but when the time comes will South Yorkshire become like London having to dispatch God knows how many appliances just to get the manpower needed?

I say to all those involved remember Brightside, Neepsend, Wicker. Will the appliances and men be able to respond or will Sheffield have to pay the price of such savings?

A Levick, ex-fireman