Keeping communities on the move
Three new appliances will go on the run in January as EssexCounty Fire and Rescue Service prepares to keep communities on the move.
The new Rescuemax vehicles will be used by retained firefighters to keep schools, GP surgeries and hospitals open, clear the way for charity and service organisations to maintain contact with the elderly and vulnerable and to make High Streets safe.
While the Highways Agency and County Council will retain responsibility for clearing roads, crews will concentrate their efforts in clearing roads and pathways to public and community properties.
Under a new pilot, ECFRS will base the three vehicles initially at Wivenhoe, Hawkwell and Brentwood. In the winter they will be specially adapted with snow blades and salt spreaders working on an amber light while snow clearing. Then in the Summer, the Service will capitalise on the vehicles’ off road capability and built in water suppression systems to tackle field and grass fires on rough terrain.
“If the schools remain open, then parents can go to work. If the High Streets are clear, then trade doesn’t suffer and people can get their shopping and go about normal daily business. If we are able to clear pathways to hospitals and health surgeries, keep meals on wheels on the move and generally make it safer for people to get around, this can only be to the good of those using public services,” explains Deputy Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley.
“The fire service has crews available within the local community and this is another way of us demonstrating our relevance and value.”
The vehicles will initially be leased. Crews have already received training in their operation and the vehicles will be out on stations ready for any bad weather.