UK Government

Communities and Local Government: £21million funding boost for fire and rescue service

Press Release   •   Jan 08, 2010 11:07 GMT

Fire Minister opens West Yorkshire’s national rescue training centre

Fire and Rescue Services in England will get £21million for 2009/2010 to support their work in dealing with major incidents, Fire Minister Shahid Malik announced today.

Improving urban search and rescue (USAR), mass decontamination and pumping capability are part of the Government’s £1billion investment in vital equipment to ensure that England’s FRS are equipped to deal with major incidents such as terrorism, industrial accident or extreme weather.

Mr Malik also announced that nearly 90 percent of England’s Fire and Rescue Service’s vehicles have now been fitted with new radios and are now on a new Firelink digital radio network.  The new radio system enables all the emergency services to speak to each other during live incidents and thus makes the co-ordination of dealing with major incidents easier and helps to save lives.

Speaking at the official opening of a national urban search and rescue training centre in West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Fire Minister Shahid Malik said:

“I am delighted to be able to confirm that the Government is providing the Fire and Rescue Services with £21million to support their work in dealing with major incidents.  This shows the Government’s continued support for the FRS and public safety.

“I am also delighted to officially open a new national urban search and rescue (USAR) training centre led by West Yorkshire FRS.  The importance of the USAR capability in dealing with major incidents was seen earlier this week when search equipment was used following the building collapse in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  I am grateful to West Yorkshire for being supportive of this initiative which is so important to public safety.

“The Government's £1billion investment in Fire and Rescue Services is already delivering significant capability - a digital radio system to enable the emergency services to speak to each other during live incidents and new vehicles and equipment to respond to natural disasters or terrorist incidents.”

The £21million confirmed today covers the FRSs costs of supporting major incident capability includes:
• Training for :
o urban search and rescue teams including the search dogs;
o using high volume pumps to deal with flooding or major fires;
o teams that use specialist  equipment for detecting and identifying potentially hazardous substances;
o mass decontamination for when large numbers of people need to have hazardous substances - which could be chemical, biological; radiological or nuclear - washed off them quickly.
• Maintaining the protective clothing for firefighters working in difficult conditions;
• Replacing oxygen and timber supplies needed to simulate real life situations in training, support; and
• Funding West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority to provide the national co-ordination centre for monitoring the availability and mobilising vital special New Dimension equipment such as high volume pumps and urban search and rescue teams.

Notes to editors

1. For allocation of funding confirmed to day see table below.  The £21million funding will be allocated between individual FRAs based on various detailed criteria including the number and type of units that they have.  The funding was originally announced as part of a three year planned funding settlement in July 2008.

2. The country’s fire and rescue capabilities were assessed by the Government following the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11 2001.  The £1billion investment by Communities and Local Government (CLG) in the Fire and Resilience programme is made up of three interconnected projects to ensure that England’s country’s Fire and Rescue Authorities could cope with major incidents:

• New Dimension – providing the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) with specialist equipment and training to deal with major incidents such as flooding, high volume pumping, urban search and rescue, mass decontamination and enhanced command and support capability
• Firelink – a digital, wide-area radio communication system for FRSs providing better quality, resilience and security, enhanced network coverage, and capability of interoperability with other FRSs, police and ambulance services.
• FiReControl project which will deliver substantial benefits to national resilience, public and firefighter safety through nine fully networked regional control centres sharing the same systems and technology. Improved technology will enable, for example, automatic location of the caller making the 999 call and data on an incident, including information on local risks, and on vehicle design for road traffic accidents, to be sent to firefighters on the ground.  This will replace the 46 standalone control rooms which do not have any shared technology to provide effective back-up for call-handling and mobilising fire and rescue resources.

3. Leicestershire is the latest Fire and Rescue Service to complete installation of the Firelink digital radios in its vehicles.  The new Firelink radios have been installed in some 7,800 vehicles from officers’ cars to fire appliances and New Dimension high volume pump vehicles.  Fitting radios into the vehicles of the remaining services, London and Shropshire, has already begun and will be completed this spring.

4. The Firelink project will conclude with the installation of Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) in vehicles and network interface equipment in the nine new Regional Control Centres being established through the FiReControl project.  The Firelink project has already delivered the network interface equipment to the West Midlands RCC which the Fire Minister visited on Tuesday (photograph available)

Grant funding to support fire and rescue service response to major incidents using new dimension equipment 2009/10

(please go to the following link to view the table mentioned above)


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