New fire engines on frontline in South Yorkshire

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney, left, and Coun Jim Andrews.
Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney, left, and Coun Jim Andrews.
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Four new fire appliances are in action in South Yorkshire communities.

The Heavy Rescue Pumps, which cost £260,000 each, have been bought to boost the fire service’s capability of responding to major incidents.

The groundbreaking design of the vehicles - unique to South Yorkshire - has increased storage space for specialist rescue equipment, making them among the best equipped fire appliances in the country.

The appliances incorporate a range of specialist rescue capabilities into one traditional fire engine, with the vehicles able to attend everything from house fires to technical incidents.

And because of Sheffield’s tram network, one of the appliances is equipped to deal with tram incidents. It carries a Supertram jacking beam, powered jacks and plates, and is believed to be one of only a few pumps in the country to carry such specialist apparatus.

The vehicles are also equipped to respond to rescues of obese people trapped in their homes, animal rescues, rescues from heights, tunnel incidents, structural collapses, collapsed excavations and incidents in confined spaces.

South Yorkshire’s Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said: “The variety of incidents the modern fire and rescue service is called to is greater than ever, and will continue to evolve.

“These new appliances will enable us to respond quickly and professionally to the full range of incidents we may be required to deal with right across the county.”

South Yorkshire Fire Authority Chairman Councillor Jim Andrews added: “Despite the severe cuts in our funding from central government, the authority remains committed to providing the best resources possible to our firefighters.

“These new Heavy Rescue Pumps show we will continue to support officers when they need funds to invest in frontline services.”

The last major fleet investment fire bosses made was to buy four combined aerial rescue pumps for £2 million in 2006.

They were designed to cut costs by combining normal fire engines and high-rise platforms.

But they could not be used for the first five years as they were too heavy to be used on the county’s roads, and were plagued by mechanical faults.

In August fire chiefs voted to scrap the combined aerial rescue pumps to bring an end to the amount of money that needed to be spent on bringing them up to standard.