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New vehicles save Fire and Rescue Service millions

6th October 2013 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Town and Around

Asked to save £3 million in the recent round of public spending cuts, the Fire and Rescue Service in Norfolk chose to take a creative approach. By securing new and more flexible vehicles at lower cost whilst retaining all front-line services, Councillors were told at a briefing at the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Headquarters on Wednesday, that the savings have been achieved.

Up to now, the fire tenders have been specially made to the requirements of each fire service in the UK. Traditionally the vehicles have been leased, so the cost £250K plus the leasing costs bringing the price of each tender with a fifteen-year life to £400K. Selecting a standard design and purchasing outright rather than leasing, each new vehicle is now on the road for £200K, and where secondary vehicles are needed a smaller standard fire tender has been chosen.

To address the varied work of the modern service, two and four wheel drive pick-up trucks that can accept a range of rear-mounted packages specifically designed for use in an emergency are also part of the armoury. These packages include the equipment for situations as diverse as flooding and road traffic incidents.

Whilst planning the service needs, officers took into account the projected increase in the number of houses under the Local Development Framework.

County Councillor Richard Bird said: “This three-pronged approach with the vehicles means that the area will get a more rapid, flexible response when an emergency arises. This is joined-up thinking at its best; officers took a fresh look at the needs of the area and the equipment that is available. The new £2million fire station in South Lynn is on schedule, no stations are closing and residents can be confident that the fire and rescue service has the equipment it needs.”

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