New CARP fire engines finally arrive . . . four years late
FOUR controversial new fire engines are taking to the roads of South Yorkshire at last after a four-year delay.
South Yorkshire Fire Service bought the Combined Aerial Rescue Pumps (CARPs) back in 2007 for £2 million but they were deemed too heavy for British roads and had to be sent to specialists in Holland for modifications costing £700,000.
But the CARPs were finally officially unveiled this week.
Firefighters demonstrated their capabilities, including mounted satellite-linked cameras to allow footage to be relayed from fire scenes to command posts.
Fire officers said that two had been used in Barnsley and Doncaster last month, while the ones in Rotherham and Sheffield are being used for training until the end of June, when they will hit the streets.
The new vehicles mean aerial capability will now be immediately available instead of having to be specially requested.
This is because they have the attributes of a rescue pump and an aerial ladder platform into one vehicle.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said that the new applicances had resulted in a saving of £1.25 million a year by allowing the service to cut 36 firefighter posts.
Beverley Sandy, director of finance and resources at the authority, said that they would add a “significant contribution” to South Yorkshire’s roads.
“It has been a while coming but we are very happy with what we have ended up with,” she said.
“There was an initial rocky period but we have come through it very well.
“What these new vehicles allow is less waiting time, as before crews had to wait anywhere up to 20 minutes for an aerial ladder platform, whereas now it’s part of the vehicle along with the pump.
“We are confident that these vehicles will make a significant public contribution.”However, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has previously raised concerns about the CARPs.
Speaking in an interview last year Graham Wilkinson, chairman of the FBU in South Yorkshire, said that his members would view the new trucks as a “cutback in services” and would rather keep the platforms and appliances separate.