Rural fire safety boost

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor hands over the final fire truck to Watch Manager Tracy Magill (right) with retained firefighters and their upgraded fire appliance at Bishops Castle Fire Station

Rural Shropshire has the best possible fire service with the delivery of the 19th and final upgraded fire truck to a retained fire station in the county.

The arrival of the XL Cab at Bishops Castle brings towards an end a £1 million campaign to upgrade appliances operating from Shropshire's 23 fire stations launched by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

It was a project close to the heart of Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor who retires at the end of June after overseeing the major three year campaign.

"I am really pleased that rural Shropshire now has the best possible fire and rescue equipment to protect the people of Shropshire and save lives," said Mr Taylor after handing over the final fire truck to Bishops Castle's 13 firefighters.

"These state of the art fire fighting vehicles offer a better cost effective service to those in need of our emergency service taking up to nine firefighters to an incident while giving the chance for more retained firefighters to gain experience."

"I am very proud to hand over the final fire appliance to our crew at Bishops Castle," he added.

Watch Manager Tracy Magill said that it would mean that the town's fire crew now had more resources to deal with incidents.

"There will be more firefighters on board and more resources when we are called out. It also means that more firefighters will be able to gain experience of fire and rescue techniques."

The previous fire truck, which carried just six firefighters, meant that others were left at the fire station unable to go out on the emergency call despite racing to the Church Lane fire station.

Bishops Castle is the 19th station to receive an upgrade and the final "one pump" fire station to receive an XL cab to replace a 12-year-old engine. More hi-tec equipment is carried on board to quickly cut free people trapped in the wreckage of their cars after a road crash.

Andrew Kelcey, Head of Resources at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This XL Cab means that nine firefighters will get to the emergency scene providing a better service to the community with its immediate response. It is part of a wider investment in the retained service which includes additional training and recruitment."

26th June, 2009