Eco friendly fire engines for Suffolk

SUFFOLK has taken delivery of ten new eco-friendly fire engines.The ten state of the art machines, each costing £200,000, have been bought as part as a modernisation programme, to make our county's environment a safer place to live.

By Georgina James

SUFFOLK has taken delivery of ten new eco-friendly fire engines.

The ten state of the art machines, each costing £200,000, have been bought as part as a modernisation programme, to make our county's environment a safer place to live.

The fire engines are equipped with hi-tech hydraulic cutting gear, thermal image cameras which each cost £5,500, and the more traditional fire fighting tools. The equipment on each engine makes up about £65,000 of the overall cost.

Sub officer Jon Southgate said: "The new engines are great, they have subtle differences to the previous ones. The engines won't improve fire attendance but the new equipment has given the firefighters enhanced confidence. And with the new thermal image cameras, the job of fire investigation will be made that much easier."

Fire engines are replaced every 15 years, and extra cash from last year's council tax rise, helped make the purchase possible.

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Four of the Volvo vehicles will be based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds will have two and Felixstowe, Haverhill, Lowestoft, Newmarket each housing the others.

Assistant chief fire officer Graham Smith said: "These ten new appliances have been brought over the last two financial years. We buy the chassis and then enter into a contract with a body builder to fit them out as fire engines. Our brigade engineer works closely with that contractor to ensure we continually improve the fleet.

"Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has a committed and motivated workforce. We provide a high level of service to the communities of Suffolk. It is my job to provide them with the most efficient fire engines and equipment possible within the budgets available and the principles of best value. The cost of our appliances compares very well with the national average and our engineer ensures we get very good value for money.

"We have secured additional funding from the county council to fund a new contract for our firefighting uniform. This ensures that the fire authority in Suffolk complies with health and safety legislation, and that our firefighters are provided with the safe uniform for the hazardous job they perform.

"Further funding was allocated for the purchase of thermal imaging cameras. These cameras enable firefighters to search for people in smoke filled buildings with greater speed. In addition they allow firefighters to check for the spread of fire within the fabric of buildings, often minimising the need to remove parts of the building structure to be sure a fire is completely out."

Phil Dillon brigade engineer said: "For the past five years the fire service has been the pilot for Suffolk in terms of its green fleet and we have made significant hits on the county's environmental targets and making Suffolk a safer place. Going green is more cost effective to Suffolk, one example is that our fuel bill has been reduced by £20,000 a year."

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