Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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New fire bikes are a first for UK

New fire bikes are a first for UK

Friday, 23 July 2010

Two motorbikes fitted with firefighting capability are the latest addition to the Blue Light fleet at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

It is the first time motorcycles with firefighting capability has been used in the UK and the bikes, along with the personal equipment, have been specially designed.

The BMW RT1200 police-spec bikes will go on the run in August, attending small rubbish fires as part of a six month pilot.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mike Hagen said: “We are once again looking for innovative ways to help us tackle the issues that we face in Merseyside.

“Anti-social behaviour fires, such as wheelie bins and skips, account for 62% of our total fire call-outs. We used to send a fire engine with a full crew to tackle them, but we want these appliances available for emergencies where life or property are at risk. In recent years we have looked at alternative ways to tackle these incidents and these fire bikes offer a new, exciting possibility.”

The bikes carry two 25 litre water tanks and a 30 metre hose reel with lance delivery branch that produces water droplets and foam. This mixture of foam and water can ‘knock back‘ a fire quickly.

Riders Colin Golden and Chris Bowers are both advanced riders and have also worked with Bikesafe, which promotes safe riding for everyday motorcyclists.

It’s not just the fire bike that is a new addition – but also the personal protective equipment. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has worked alongside Universal Carbon Fibres to produce a kit that not only meets EU firefighting standards but also EU professional motorcycle rider standards.

Motorcycles have been used by Fire Services for operational duties throughout the world for some years, including Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Turkey but this is the first time they have been used in the UK. They join a growing fleet of bikes at Merseyside Fire that have been used to respond to automatic fire alarms and promote road safety.

Group Manager John McCormack, who has led the project on behalf of the Fire Service, said: “It is a pioneering way of dealing with small fires and because it has never been done here, the project has been several years in the making. The bike and the kit have been specifically designed so that they are safe and fit for purpose and we are impressed with the products that we now have. We will now be trialling them for six months on the streets of Merseyside.”

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