Loughborough fire engine to be replaced with response vehicle

Loughborough Station is currently home to two engines but one will be taken away and replaced with a Tactical Response Vehicle for a trial.

One of Loughborough’s two remaining fire engines is to be replaced by a smaller response vehicle for a trial period later this year – but the Fire Brigades Union has expressed concerns with the plans.

Loughborough Station is currently home to two engines but proposals to cut this resource in half have been discussed for more than two years.

At one time it was thought there would be just the one engine left in town.

Now, as part of its draft 2017/20 Budget Strategy, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority has confirmed that one of Loughborough’s engines will be taken away but will be replaced with a Tactical Response Vehicle (TRV) for a trial period from August.

This will cut the number of firefighters employed at Loughborough from 44 to 36, with eight of the original number being “redeployed across the service where required”.

Richard Hall, area manager operational response for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The TRV is a smaller fire engine that has been designed by a very experienced team of end users/professionals within Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

“This team have developed a vehicle that will be equipped and crewed to deal with the smaller types of incidents and also undertake initial actions at larger incidents prior to the arrival of reinforcing fire engines.

“The main difference between a TRV and a standard fire engine is size. One is built on a lorry chassis, the other on a van chassis.

“The TRV is provided with similar equipment to that carried on a standard fire engine. There is just less of it.

“For instance a standard fire engine carries 1,800 litres of water whilst a TRV carries around 700 litres.

“This equally applies to the crew in that a standard fire engine has four whilst a TRV has a minimum crew of two.

fireman

Crew manager for Loughborough Fire Station Graham Vaux.

“We have found that the vast majority of incidents that we attend do not require all of the equipment or crew that LFRS includes on a standard fire engine.

“For instance, around 60 per cent represent small fires and false alarms.

“As such the working group are currently confirming which incident types the TRVs can be considered to be used for once they arrive in service later this year.

“TRVs will provide LFRS with a more flexible response to emergencies.

“The TRVs will enable us to send the right people with the right skills and the right equipment to manage and resolve emergencies.

“In addition LFRS are currently working with East Midlands Ambulance Service on an Emergency Fire Responder trial where fire and rescue staff are mobilised to the more serious medical emergencies.

“The TRVs are planned to be included in this very important new area of collaboration.”

Graham Vaux, brigade chairman for the Fire Brigades Union in Leicestershire and Loughborough crew manager, told the Echo that the union has concerns over the plans.

He said: “At any one time there could only be six people to cover the whole of Loughborough which could be difficult if we get a big incident.

“At the moment it’s not been tried and tested in Leicestershire so we are working with management to make sure the incidents it is sent to are appropriate and there are enough resources to deal with situations.

“We just want to make sure it’s done safely and not done to save money and cut corners.

“The ideal standard would be two engines and at least four firefighters each but the TRVs may only respond with two people.

“Fundamentally we are against these cuts; we are going from what was once three engines to currently two and now one.”