25 March 2010

Reaching for the skies

Devon & Cornwall show off their new aerial ladder appliances

Plymouth Hoe staged the dramatic backdrop for the launch of six new Aerial Ladder Platforms (ALPs), five for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the sixth for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. This is the first joint regional procurement project of its kind between the two Services at an investment of 2.2 million.
An official handing over of the keys took place and Cllr Bernard Hughes, Chairman of the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority, said: “This represents a significant investment in our vehicle fleet and will ensure that our fire fighters have the latest specialist equipment to fight fires at height.”
The new ALPs are replacing existing appliances which are approaching the end of their life-cycle and due to go on the run in July, after training has taken place.
Training is required in various areas, and will be rolled out through March, April and May. The driver training lasts for one day, the operator instructor training for five days and will include instructors from all of the five stations who are due to receive the vehicles.
Manufactured by VEMA in Finland, the appliances were then delivered to John Dennis Coachbuilders (JDC) in Guildford for fitting and stowage, who also made alterations that were requested by the Service for end-user and health and safety improvements
The hydraulic platforms will allow firefighters to work from a height of 34 metres, which is six metres higher than the current aerial appliances. Benefits of the appliances:
• Rear wheel steer better manoeuvrability
• Rear wheel steer improved tyre wear
• Boom reach 6 meters further reach current Bronto
• Self levelling system
• Latest technology including dial up diagnostics, this allows engineers to find faults quickly from a remote location
• Standard appliance through both services allow cooperation for training documentation and degradation

The five appliances for Devon and Somerset will be located at
• Crownhill
• Yeovil
• Taunton
• Exeter Danes Castle
• Torquay
• The Cornwall appliance will be located at Newquay.
The vehicles were purchased as part of the Firebuy national framework contract.
Devon and Somerset Fire Press Release
Thanks to Dave Boulter I am able to bring you photos of the launch event on Plymouth Hoe. As he puts it himself:
To say the photography was 'challenging' is the understatement of the year. Conditions were horrendous with heavy, swirling continuous heavy rain and a somewhat low cloud base! Any half-decent print is a miracle!
Devon and Cornwall Fire Brigade ©Dave Boulter
From left to right: WA59FUF, WA59FUB, WA59FUG, WK59BPZ, WA59FUE, WA59FUD. I think you can spot the Cornish one!
Devon and Cornwall Fire Brigade ©Dave Boulter

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