Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
146 Bolton Road
Tel: 0161 736 5866
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GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's new Small Incident Units (SIUs) are now being used to help tackle small fires and free up more fire engines.
The new units were launched last week with the aim of reducing the impact of low-risk incidents on staff and resources, leaving more fire engines available for life-threatening incidents such as house fires and rescues.
They will also leave crews free to carry out vital operational training and community fire safety work to help prevent fires without interruptions, unless there is a serious incident.
Rather than buying brand new vehicles, GMFRS has converted four of its current 4x4 vehicles to carry a crew of two, a fogging system (a high pressure pump designed to consume less water but put the fire out quicker) and various items of equipment to deal with small incidents.
Trial vehicles have already been successfully used on a number of occasions including over two bonfire periods.
Careful consideration is given to the type and location of the incidents that SIUs get sent to which include rubbish and wheelie bin fires in the open and small bonfires.
They are a considered to be roaming appliances rather than station-based vehicles and are intelligence-led as to which areas they work in.
For example, the new units have been used in Bolton this week to roam parks and wooded areas following a number of deliberate rubbish fires started by children with matches across Greater Manchester.
Read more about these incidents by seeing a previous article here: www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/updates/incidents/11april2012_rubbish_fires_prevention.aspx)
Area Manager Tony Hunter said: "Converting our current 4x4 vehicles has proved a very cost effective way of trialling the concept of Small Incident Units and their success during bonfire periods supports this logical next step.
"Utilising the units on a more regular basis will assist our fire engines in remaining available to respond to emergencies where life may be at threat and not otherwise occupied at small nuisance incidents such as rubbish and wheelie bin fires."