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.”
To deliver this our Operational Response Function is made up of a number of departments
Operational Performance Team
Incident Management Team
Health & Safety
Time & Resource Management
Our response standards in relation to fire in property remain amongst the fastest
in the country and are:
- High Risk – First attack within 5 minutes with additional support within 8
to 10 minutes.
- Medium Risk – First attack within 6 minutes with additional support within
9 to 11 minutes.
- Low Risk – First attack within 7 minutes with additional support within 10
to 12 minutes.
Our aim is to achieve these standards on 90% of occasions.
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.
Since 2002, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has embarked upon a Government-funded
national project to put in place new resources and equipment to help us tackle a
variety of different incidents such as dealing with hazardous materials, large-scale
flooding and building collapses.
Providing an Excellent Operational Response
Response to Road Traffic Collisions (RTC)
People 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 8 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 are deeply concerned 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. Our aim is to do something about this. We have launched a Road Safety
Campaign, Drive to Arrive (D2A), to target the most at risk group; 16 to 20-year-
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.
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.
Our 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
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 Flood Response
National Enhancement Project. The Service has five type B rescue boat teams registered
with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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.
Mobilising and Communications Centre (MACC)
We have always maintained a state-of-the-art facility for answering 999 calls staffed
by highly trained and experienced operators to ensure calls are dealt with immediately
and our appliances are deployed quickly and efficiently. Merseyside Fire & Rescue
Authority have always invested in this important element of our Service and have
kept pace with technological developments to provide a modern and highly efficient
The Government had plans for a National network of Regional Control Centres, but
has since terminated this project. The Fire & Rescue Authority has to decide what
its provisions for the future will be.
In order to secure the best value we can for this function we are considering options
for the future provision of this service with local emergency service partners.
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
National Water Rescue Event
After the summer floods of 2007, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service recognised the
benefits of organising a national water rescue training event.
The driver for hosting the event was to provide an opportunity for rescue teams
that would only normally come together at a major incident to train together in
a challenging environment. The training was carried out in Llangollen and on Anglesey
Menai Bridge, North Wales. It allowed fire crews from 6 different Fire and Rescue
Services and an Ambulance Service the opportunity to learn from each other and share
best practice in a realistic environment in order to work together more effectively
during real emergencies.
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. They are located in an area with
a high concentration of chemical risks and are available 24/7 to respond to these
types of incidents as well as providing fire cover as a support appliance. 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
We 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 at the recent 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
huge amounts of water to fight fires.
Our unit has been deployed in the past to severe flooding in Cumbria and locally
in Huyton and to assist with firefighting at Buncefield and locally in Birkenhead.
The 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
We also have introduced a new fire engine with off road capability and the equipment
to perform technical and high risk large animal rescues and other rescues of a technical
nature as well as functioning as a front line fire fighting appliance.