New off-road firefighting vehicles have arrived on Island, six equipped with standard firefighting equipment and one specialist rescue vehicle.
They will replace the current fleet of outdated off-road vehicles, some almost 29 years old, which are no longer manufactured making them difficult to maintain.
Each vehicle has designed to take into account the Island’s terrain and deliver a range of improvements over the vehicles they are replacing. A significant feature is an increase in water capacity which is now 800 litres compared to 200 litres on the previous off-road appliances.
The vehicles can accommodate a full firefighting crew of 5 personnel, have improved pumping options, more storage for firefighting equipment and are more environmentally friendly.
These improvements will allow the Fire & Rescue Service to respond to a wider range of incidents compared to the previous off-road vehicles. They will be able to respond to outdoor, rubbish, property and car fires, as well as flooding or inclement weather (including snowfall) incidents.
All seven of the vehicles are 4 x 4 off-road capable, allowing the service to respond to incidents in difficult, uneven, or boggy terrain. The rescue vehicle has been specifically designed for the line and water rescue teams, allowing for remote, cliff or water rescues.
The project has taken three years from design concept to completion, costing a total of £1.17m for the seven specifically designed vehicles.
The six standard appliances will be strategically located across five of the islands fire stations - Douglas, Laxey, Ramsey, Kirk Michael and Rushen, to provide the greatest coverage. The seventh bespoke rescue vehicle will be based at Douglas Fire Station.
Chief Fire Officer, Mark Christian, said:
‘I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their dedication and hard work. These new vehicles are a great example of partnership working between the Fire & Rescue Service and our supplier, Emergency One Group Ltd. The design and build has been specifically based around the operational needs of the Isle of Man Fire & Rescue Service and makes this vehicle one of the most versatile within our fleet.'
‘The Fire & Rescue Service has recently trained 70 drivers to operate these vehicles safely under blue light and off-road conditions, with over 1300 training hours being logged by staff during the project rollout. The vehicles will enhance our firefighting capability and help us to keep our Island safe.'
Member for the Department of Home Affairs, John Wannenburgh MHK, said:
‘It’s great to see these specialist vehicles joining our fleet. The advances in technology and improvements on the vehicles will greatly assist our Fire & Rescue service who often have to work in dangerous and difficult conditions. We hope that our commitment to safety and modernising our services will help achieve the Government vision of the safest and most secure small island community.’