Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) are leading the way with advance technologies and training for fire crews. Following a trial period in Blackburn, LFRS have commissioned and introduced into service a new concept in fire engine, the ‘Stinger’ manufactured by Rosenbauer; have collaborated with Lancashire Constabulary to introduce a high-specification drone and have introduced a revolutionary concept in ‘live’ fire training with their Gallery 3 multi-compartment training unit at the Euxton, Chorley, Training Centre.
LFRS are committed to making Lancashire safer, and investing in training and resources for firefighters makes a crucial contribution to that objective. In addition to their collaboration with Yorkshire-based Rosenbauer UK in the design, construction and introduction of the Stinger, LFRS have also worked in close partnership with Lancashire Constabulary to purchase a high-specification drone from the proceeds of crimes.
Justin Johnston, Deputy Chief Fire Officer from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said, “Trialling the Stinger at Blackburn proved the worth of an innovative design, delivering outstanding performance at the incidents it has been assigned to and fully justifying our belief in the importance of keeping abreast of changing technologies. Following the successful trial period we purchased the prototype Stinger, which has remained at Blackburn Fire Station. A second Stinger is on order, to be based in another part of the County, as yet to be decided.”
“The partnership with Lancashire Constabulary to operate a drone has proved its worth time and time again at a number of major fires and ‘missing person’ incidents and in addition to providing an ‘eye-in-the-sky’ to help firefighters fight fires more effectively, including the drone’s infra-red capability to identify fires burning within a structure that would not be visible to the naked eye, we are the first Fire and Rescue Service to locate a missing person using the drone, which is a great accolade and further endorses the wisdom of investing in new resources.”
Both the drone and the Stinger have made a significant impression on the Service and have contributed to saving lives, preventing significant fire damage to buildings and increasing firefighter safety. The drone – an Aeryon Skyranger – is one of the most advanced in the world and has features such as advanced high-definition zoom lens, Infra-Red vision and day and night flying ability.
The Stinger offers exceptional versatility, serving as a ‘regular’ fire engine to transport and equip firefighters to deal with house fires, road traffic collisions and the range of emergencies likely to come their way but in addition providing a facility to jet water a distance of 80 metres onto a fire from a maximum height of 16.5 metres. Additionally, a hydraulically-powered ‘Stinger’ spike mounted on the articulated boom of the appliance can drive through slates, tiles and other building composites, spraying water jets onto the fire within a compartment. Impressively, LFRS will go on to train other Services in the use of the drone and stinger as these appliances look to become a national asset.
The Multi-Compartment Fire Training Unit based in Euxton is another string to the LFRS bow and has allowed firefighters to train in a realistic and safe environment. The unit, ‘Gallery 3’ to complement the other two galleries on site, is a partnership between LFRS and Kidde Fire Technologies that has impressed both firefighters and trainers with its capabilities that meet the requirements of OTGBA for Breathing Apparatus assessments.
Martin Counsell, Watch Manager and Lead Trainer at Lancashire Training Centre, says; “Over 1000 firefighters have benefitted from The Multi-Compartment Fire Training Unit giving them the opportunity to practice realistic scenarios like weight of attack, compartment cooling, the effects of wind on a fire situation – and many more, meeting Local and National learning outcomes.”
Overall these new additions to LFRS showcase Lancashire as a leader in outstanding training facilities which give their staff the knowledge and skills to put into practice. The addition of the drone and the Stinger will no doubt make Lancashire a safer place to live, work and visit.