Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Major exercise on Southend Pier

A major exercise simulated a huge blaze at the far end of Southend’s iconic pier – the longest in the world.

Crews from Leigh, Rayleigh, Rochford, Southend and Shoeburyness joined colleagues from Essex Police, Southend Council, RNLI and the HM Coastguard to test their response to a fire at the pier head.

New plans to deal with fires on the pier mean that firefighters can no longer take the train to transport themselves and equipment along the 1.3 mile long pier.

This exercise gave over 30 firefighters a chance to test new fleet of specialist lightweight buggies, which they will use to get all the heavy equipment they require to the incident scene.

Assistant Divisional Officer Mark Turnball, exercise organiser, said: “The exercise will allow us to create a new tactical fire plan for a major incident on Southend Pier.

“The new fleet of buggies are a great way for crews to transport fire equipment to the incident quickly and effectively.

“Using these vehicles in conjunction with our plan meant that we had two monitors operational at the pier head in just over 30 minutes, giving us the best possible chance to control and contain the fire, limiting the damage it will cause.

“I would like to thank our firefighters for their enthusiasm and dedication during the exercise. I would also like to thank our partners, particularly Southend Council who allowed us to train on the pier.

“The exercise was a success and we will work closely with Southend Council to further improve our plan.”

The exercise was opportunity to test emergency procedures, radio communications and the pier’s many water hydrants.

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