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Fire service 4x4s which stoked controversy to be used for the first time

PUBLISHED: 16:22 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 10 July 2020

Firefighters with the new personal protective equipment and the new tactical response vehicles. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters with the new personal protective equipment and the new tactical response vehicles. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters across Norfolk now have £1.44m of new kit, with new fire vehicles, which stoked controversy, about to be put into service.

Firefighters with the new personal protective equipment and the new tactical response vehicles. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.Firefighters with the new personal protective equipment and the new tactical response vehicles. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Five new 4x4 tactical response vehicles, will start being used this month, having cost Norfolk County Council £187,000.

They will be based at stations in Wymondham, Diss, Fakenham, Cromer and Sandringham, with fire chiefs saying they will carry a range of specialist equipment to tackle a wide range of incidents.

That includes a misting unit and water tank for wildfires and the ability to switch kit for other scenarios, including cutting gear for use at road traffic crashes.

Controversy was sparked when Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service announced the Toyota Hilux vehicles - which can take a crew of three firefighters, or four if the misting unit is not needed - last year.

Concerns were raised that the vehicles would replace the second existing fire vehicles at Wymondham, Diss and Fakenham, but the fire service subsequently said they would be in addition to those vehicles.

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The stations at Cromer and Sandringham had already had one of their two appliances withdrawn, so the tactical response vehicles will be added to the existing appliance there.

The council has said there are “currently no plans to remove existing fire appliances from fire stations” but a “concept of operations review” will consider equipment at each location.

The latest investment means new personal protective equipment for all 787 firefighters across the county is being issued this week.

Supplies include new helmets, gloves, trousers, jackets, firefighting coats and eye protection. New leather fire boots will also be issued as required.

There will also be new high-visibility lightweight jackets suitable for non-fire incidents such as road crashes and rescues, as well as full new kit for the water rescue teams and drone pilots.

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at the council, said: “Ensuring our staff have the best kit for all the different challenges they face is a top priority and we are pleased to be rolling out new protective clothing and equipment for all frontline staff.

“The new vehicles will enhance the work of the fire and rescue service.”


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