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KFRS welcomes new additions to its fleet

KFRS welcomes new additions to its fleet

3 March 2016

Nick Chard, Chairman of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority with the new slimline fire engine

The first of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) 29 new smaller fire engines started responding to 999 emergency calls in Sevenoaks earlier this week; the second appliance arrives in Dymchurch tomorrow (Friday 4 March).

Weighing in at 12 tonnes – 6 tonnes lighter than KFRS’s other fire appliances - it is packed with specialist equipment to enable Kent’s firefighters to respond to a variety of fire and rescue incidents across the county and complies with the latest Euro 6 vehicle emission standards.

Chris Colgan, KFRS’s Assistant Director Response & Training, explained why Kent has opted for the new, slimline engines. He said: "A number of our fire engines were reaching the end of their life. Traditionally, we’ve employed a ‘one size fits all’ model with the 18 tonne fire engines used for every type of incident, but technology and firefighting tactics have moved on.

"We are continually looking at how we tackle fires and other incidents to make sure we take advantage of new technology. Following an in-depth review into the types of incidents we go to, the equipment used at them and information from the scene, KFRS found it was using 40 per cent of the equipment 80 per cent of the time and that there was an opportunity to carry this equipment on a smaller fire engine to complement the existing larger vehicles without compromising any capability."

As well as being lighter, narrower and more manoeuvrable, the new appliances are more fuel efficient so better for the environment. They are also £50,000 cheaper than existing models and will remain in service for at least 15 years.

Chairman of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority Nick Chard said: "An important part of our plans to modernise the service was to take advantage of new technology and make sure that firefighters had the right equipment to do the job. The new engines and the equipment they carry are a good example of this and the new kit has already proved its worth at many incidents, including some major fires. This means we are better able to continue to provide an efficient and effective service for our local communities, keeping the public and our firefighters as safe as possible."

Features incorporated into the new smaller fire engines include:  

  • Thermal imaging camera - is like a set of eyes that can see through black smoke straight to the heart of the fire or to locate the casualty. Fire crews scan the building with the camera before going inside to locate the seat of the fire (where the fire is hottest). They can dramatically speed up the search for someone missing in a fire. A fingertip search in zero visibility can take seconds with the camera guiding crews. It can also be used to locate hotspots to prevent a fire spreading to neighbouring properties or other parts of the building

  • Fog spike – the spike punches holes through walls or roof tiles to allow a fine water mist to be sprayed from the outside - like a sprinkler system - which can suppress heat and dramatically reduce the temperature and spread of a fire before firefighters enter. They can be used within shared roof voids to create a fire break and stop fires spreading laterally, so property can be preserved more effectively.  Almost all the water evaporates so water damage is significantly reduced and firefighting time can be cut dramatically. It also reduces the risk of backdraughts and flashovers making it safer for firefighters 

  • Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan – these fans can be used to clear smoke and fumes from a property both during and after a fire 

  • Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) – is a foam that uses less water than traditional firefighting methods so is more environmentally sensitive but provides rapid fire knockdown. It can be an advantage in rural areas where the water supplies may be limited or some distance from the location of the fire. It can also be sprayed on buildings and cars to form a protective layer and prevent a fire spreading onto neighbouring properties 

  • Defibrillators/first aid - to help casualties at incidents and to respond to incidents as part of our co-responding to medical emergencies

  • Light portable pump and a submersible pump - these smaller, transportable pumps can be used to provide firefighting water in areas where the fire engine cannot get to. They can also be used to pump water away from a property during flooding

  • Larger capacity hose – these fire engines have larger hose reels which are more effective at extinguishing fires 

  • Intelligent pump control system – enables the fire engine’s water pump to function electronically, freeing up firefighters for other duties at an incident

These new fire engines will join the fleet at a number of fire stations around the county once training has been rolled out to the crews.

Notes to editors:

  • The new fire engines are 12 tonnes, 2.36m wide, 3.1m high and 7m long

  • Watch KFRS’s short virtual tour film to see the new fire engine

  • For further details please contact the KFRS Press Office on 01622 212425

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