The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is being boosted with the arrival of two new state-of-the-art fire appliances.
The two Scania appliances are equipped with specialist cutting equipment for use at the scenes of road traffic accidents. They also feature a new Cobra Fire Suppression System – an improvement on the customary fire hoses which uses available water more efficiently by creating a heavy mist, allowing a wider area of a fire to be tackled.
The two vehicles replace appliances that are nearing the end of their working life and will be joined by a third new Scania appliance and a new aerial ladder platform later this year and two further Scania appliances in 2012. These are all part of a modernisation programme devised by senior fire officers to make the service more effective and efficient.
On Thursday 19 May the first two new vehicles will be unveiled at Ryde Fire Station where other significant improvements have also been completed. These improvements are necessary as the station has since February been staffed by whole time crews. This reflects another key aspect of the fire modernisation programme – reducing the reliance on part-time or retained crew by providing more whole-time cover.
The two new appliances and the improvements to Ryde Fire Station will be inspected by Cllr Barry Abraham who is the IW Council cabinet member responsible for the fire service. The IW Council is responsible for the service and is the smallest fire authority in the country.
“As an Islander myself I am proud that we have not only retained control of our fire and rescue service but that we are also able – in difficult financial times – to invest so heavily in improving it,” Cllr Abraham said.
“The service has improved almost beyond measure in recent years having come from one of the worst in the country to one of the best. This is down to the dedication and skill of the fire service personnel who continue to be at the heart of the moves necessary to ensure the service remains modern, effective and also efficient.
“While we have had to change the way we do things in some areas, I would hope that more full time fire fighters, major upgrades to Ryde Fire Station, new equipment for fire-fighters, a new aerial platform and five new state of the art fire appliances makes clear our commitment to retaining and improving an Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service that is capable of serving the Island better than ever before.”
Peter Mawhood, Chair of the Isle of Wight branch of the Fire Brigades Union said “The FBU welcomes the improvement to the facilities at Ryde Fire Station and the potential benefits to the local community. We also welcome the investment made in new fire-fighting equipment to enhance the safety of fire-fighters Island wide.”