Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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Fires and how we keep Merseyside Safe

One of our primary aims is:

“To maintain an excellent emergency response to meet risk across Merseyside with safety and effectiveness at its core.”

The Operational Response function ensures that the Authority on behalf of the public is assured with regard to the readiness of the workforce, appliances, stations, and equipment to respond appropriately and timely to emergencies, and that when we do respond our firefighters, procedures and equipment are safe and effective.

To deliver this our Operational Response Function is made up of a number of departments consisting of:

Operational Performance Team

Incident Management Team

Health & Safety

Time & Resource Management

Operational Response Standards

The Services response standards remain amongst the fastest in the country. They are set out as:

  • We will attend any life risk emergency incident on Merseyside within 10 minutes of being requested.
  • We will aim to achieve this on 90% of occasions

Providing an Excellent Operational Response

In addition to fighting fires and other emergencies Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is helping to keep communities safe by working closely with police, health services, local authorities and other agencies to plan for major incidents such as train derailments, floods, chemical leaks and terrorist attacks.

Over the past decade a significant number of high profile emergency incidents have occurred both here in the UK and abroad. These have driven the Government to review the UK's ability to respond and deal with similar types of events. The outcome of this review was used to create legislation which stated that a high degree of emergency planning at a national, regional and local level was required.

Large scale emergency incidents have also increased in the UK. This has been due to climate change and terrorist activities. As a direct result of this the Government introduced the ‘National Resilience’ project. Through the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) specific fire and rescue services were given vehicles, equipment and training to establish a standardised national response to large scale emergency incidents. The resources and equipment help us tackle a variety of different incidents such as dealing with hazardous materials, large-scale flooding and building collapses.

Response to Road Traffic Collisions (RTC)

RTCPeople involved in road traffic collisions in Merseyside can be assured of a prompt and effective response. Our response standard in relation to road traffic collisions where persons are reportedly trapped is an attendance at the incident within 10 minutes of the first notification.

We aim to achieve this standard on 90% of occasions. Our response is supplemented by the deployment of the Search and Rescue Team to all road traffic collisions. The Search and Rescue Team are trained in specialist skills to the highest national standards and significantly enhance our ability to safely free people who are trapped.

We recognise that although we attend relatively few road traffic collisions where people are trapped, a high level of deaths and injuries are sustained in these incidents! As a Fire and Rescue Service we recognise that we are well placed to address this and influence behaviour and as such we currently deliver our flagship road safety campaign, Drive to Arrive (D2A), to target the most at risk group of 16-20yr old males in schools and colleges.

Urban Search And Rescue (USAR)

The people of Merseyside benefit from a highly proficient Urban Search and Rescue capability. We have a comprehensively trained team, which is equipped with the latest equipment, provided by the Government, to respond to any major incidents which require this type of response, such as a collapsed building.

The firefighters and search and rescue canines of the USAR team are available 24hrs a day and ready for deployment anywhere in Merseyside, or beyond to assist in any incidents which require this specialist expertise. This capability is maintained to provide resilience on a national level for large-scale incidents and accidents.

Water Rescue

Those people who use Merseyside’s waterways are safer as a result of our commitment to ensuring we have the highest levels of water rescue capability. Merseyside has significant risks related to waterways, so to address these risks we have developed a response capability to swift and still water.

Water RescueOur Marine Rescue Team, which is continually available on immediate response, is sited in the River Mersey Community Fire and Rescue Station on the Merseytravel pontoon at the Pier Head. The team are available to respond immediately to incidents on the River Mersey and dock system, from Fort Perch Rock, at the mouth of the Mersey, to the Runcorn Bridge. They provide an essential element of the response to potential emergencies at Liverpool John Lennon Airport as well as effectively dealing with other emergencies on the river.

To supplement this we have highly skilled tidal and fast flowing water response technicians within the Search and Rescue Team who are continually and immediately available to attend emergencies in moving water wherever it may be.

The Service water rescue response capability is structured to align with guidance issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Flood Response National Enhancement Project. The Service has five type B rescue boat teams registered with DEFRA that are able to respond to national emergencies resulting from large-scale flooding, such as in Cumbria in 2009 where we assisted in the rescue effort.

The Service has further enhanced its ability to quickly and safely respond to incidents on water, mud and unstable ground with a rescue hovercraft. The Hovercraft will be immediately deployable to incidents anywhere in the County and will assist with the provision of a safe system of work when responding to these types of incident.

To ensure our firefighters can work safely in and around still water, mud and unstable ground, all of our firefighters are trained as still water responders. The necessary equipment to respond to this type of incident safely is also carried on every rescue appliance in Merseyside.

Rescue from Height

Rescue from height Every firefighter is trained to work safely at height with ropes and every rescue appliance carries a well equipped rope access kit. In addition, we can immediately deploy the Search and Rescue Team who are highly skilled with rope access and rescue equipment to perform more complex rescues across Merseyside at any time. These incidents are usually high-risk and are protracted by their nature; to reflect this; the team is highly trained and rigorously exercised in the use and application of this technical equipment.

Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection

We reduce risks from incidents which involve hazardous materials or threaten possible contamination of the environment through the development of a highly qualified and well equipped Hazardous Material Response Team. The Service will further develop partnerships within the chemical and environmental protection industries to help sites return to normal business as soon as possible following incidents of this type.

Detection Identification & Monitoring (DIM)

The DIM vehicle and equipment enables :

Detection of a wide range of chemical or radiological hazardous substances.

  •  Identification of hazardous substances whether chemical, biological or radiological.
  •  Monitoring of the levels of contaminate present and to establish and maintain cordons. The unit is supported by a team of highly qualified and trained DIM advisors who have responded to incidents both on Merseyside and in support of neighbouring Fire and Rescue Services in the North West.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response

Night IncidentWe maintain the capability to respond to incidents involving CBRNE threats both within Merseyside and across the whole Country.

The vehicles and equipment are supplied by the Government and our staff are trained and frequently exercised to respond to these incidents safely and effectively.

Our primary role is to ensure the safety of the public through the efficient decontamination of any one person or group of people exposed to these hazards.

Response to Terrorism and Non Terrorist Major Incidents

We train regularly and are equipped to respond to this type of incident. Working in these circumstances requires close co-operation with the other blue light services and to secure this we have agreements in place with both Merseyside Police and North West Ambulance Service.

These procedures where used with great success during the 2011 civil disturbances in Liverpool and Birkenhead to secure the safety of all involved.

High Volume Pump Capability

As part of the National Resilience capability we maintain a High Volume Pumping Unit which is continually available on an immediate response. This asset has been provided to respond to catastrophic flooding incidents and is capable of supplying large amounts of water to fight fires.

OOur unit has been deployed in the past to severe national flooding in Cumbria and more recently Somerset and also locally in Huyton and Birkenhead. The pump was also deployed to assist with firefighting at Buncefield.

Other Rescues

Night IncidentThe people of Merseyside are well served by a comprehensive approach to tackling a whole variety of emergencies. To address the hazards posed by Merseyside's vehicle and railway tunnels we have specialist equipment and suitably trained firefighters which are strategically located to provide a fast, effective response to any incident which occurs within the tunnel systems.

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