Our Engineering section comprises two teams: Transport and Equipment. Together they are responsible for providing, supporting and maintaining all of the vehicles and equipment used by the Service.
The team – which includes experienced firefighters, specialist technicians, motor mechanics, an asset manager, an administrator and a data inputter – tests and maintains our equipment. It also maintains a register of what we have so that we can manage our assets and take a long-term view of what we need and schedule it into the development programme accordingly.
The team is also responsible for carrying out all the research and development associated with introducing new fire vehicles and equipment into the organisation, or upgrading existing in order to keep pace with advances in technology.
This process can take many years from inception to delivery as the team needs to research what is available on the market, talk to other fire and rescue services about what they are using, consult with our staff and give them prototypes to test before firming up a detailed specification. It is essential that we get the best value possible for our investment, which means comparing the cost, quality, delivery timescales and suitability of all possible suppliers. Only then, can one be selected and the order placed.
But we can’t just sit back and wait for it to be delivered. We make regular visits to the manufacturers to monitor progress, and sometimes we have to modify our specification as we go along.
Then when it is ready, we need to put it through a thorough testing and evaluation process before we can be confident that it is fit for purpose and ready to be brought into service.