News release text
Innovative firefighting equipment is being rolled out across Kent – from all terrain vehicles to specialist technology which can cut through concrete and rapidly reduce the temperature of building fires.
This is the next phase of a major project to ensure that Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is ready to meet the future needs of the county. The new kit means there is more flexibility, certain incidents can be reached faster and tackled more quickly, and savings can be made by not always having to use a traditional fire engine for every job.
New equipment includes:
A firefighting system which uses a hand held lance that bores aggregate to punch a small hole through a roof or wall. It then switches to a super fine mist that immediately reduces the temperature. This means firefighters can get into the property more quickly and safely to conduct rescues or other firefighting. It uses a fraction of the water of a traditional hose and so generally would cause less damage and save more of the property.
All terrain eight wheeled vehicles which can get firefighters and equipment to remote areas such as woods and moorlands that would be impossible for a traditional heavy fire engine to reach.
KFRS Director of Operational Policy and Resilience, Steve Demetriou, said: “We have traditionally had a ‘one size fits all’ model and used traditional fire engines for every type of incident, but technology and firefighting has moved on. So it makes sense to take advantage of new technology that means we can reach and tackle certain types of incident quicker and at the same time, save money. However we will always need traditional fire engines and in fact, we are investing by buying new models to replace existing engines that have reached the end of their useful life.”
The new firefighting system has already been trialled on an appliance in Margate and has been used on seven occasions since the end of August last year. This included a workshop fire in Doddington where oil and other chemicals were stored. Crews used it to bore a hole into the side of the container to bring down the temperature very quickly and extinguish the fire from the outside, preventing significant environmental damage.
The system will now be used on appliances in Dartford, Thames-side, Maidstone, Medway and Canterbury. KFRS Head of Operational Services, Chris Colgan, says: “The fine mist used by the system can reduce the temperature of the fire by several hundred degrees within seconds and uses a fraction of the water normally needed to fight a fire. It drastically reduces the damage the fire can cause but also helps firefighters by lowering the risk of backdrafts and flashovers, enabling them to enter a building to conduct rescues and further firefighting.”
The all terrain vehicles – being trialled at Dartford and Herne Bay – can access rural areas such as woodland which are difficult to get to with a normal fire engine. They will be used to fight countryside fires, but can also be equipped with a plough and tracks for use during periods of severe weather.
These will be complemented by two new 4X4 vehicles equipped with fire-fogging units – a high-powered hose that can reach inaccessible areas and fight woodland and grassland fires far quicker than a traditional engine. They are due to be introduced into service in the next few weeks.
Chris Colgan added: “These new vehicles will mean KFRS can respond to a variety of incidents throughout the year, in the most efficient way possible. The all terrain vehicle has the versatility to not only tackle grassland fires in restricted rural areas, but also provide us with a very valuable resource to deal with a variety of incidents during the winter months and severe weather.
In addition KFRS is replacing 21 fire engines that have reached the end of their life with new models.”
Note to newsdesks:
The all terrain vehicles and firefighting system will be in action at a training exercise on Wednesday 30 January at 10am at The Eastern Quarry, Southfleet Road, Dartford Kent DA10 ODF. Journalists are invited to attend but you must confirm your attendance in advance with the KFRS press office on (01622) 212425 as you will need to be accompanied at the site.
Photographs of the system are available on the KFRS photo library at www.kentfirephotos.co.uk (Numbers 5227 to 5232). There is a video at https://vimeo.com/57375804 (Password: cobra)