'We're in for the long haul' over fire engines
FIRE chiefs say they are now satisfied with the performance of a controversial engine — even though another UK fire service is planning to withdraw its fleet.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service plans to phase out the use of four combined aerial rescue pumps, known as CARPs, after experiencing repeated mechanical problems, resulting in them being out of action more than 150 times during their first eight months of service.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MWWFRS) has two of the vehicles, one based in Haverfordwest, and the other in the station in Sketty.
While the service admits to experiencing some technical difficulties with the vehicles in the past, fire chiefs say they are satisfied the problems have been resolved.
The Swansea-based vehicle was bought by the service in 2007, at a cost of around £450,000, despite concerns over its size from some firefighters who argued it was too big to manoeuvre in some narrow streets.
It was originally based in Morriston, until officers there decided the engine, which is 8ft longer than standard vehicles, was "unsuitable for purpose" because of its size.
It later emerged it did not go into full service for more than a year after it was bought because of "technical difficulties". It has subsequently been repeatedly taken off the run because of technical issues.
But a MWWFRS spokesman told the Post: "Whilst the Service has experienced some technical and mechanical issues with the Aerial Rescue Pump's (ARP) performance in the past, we are satisfied that the appliance is now operating at full capacity and provides a valuable addition to the service's fleet of vehicles.
"These appliances are a reliable resource and provide a dual purpose, combining the functions of a standard rescue pump and a high rise platform.
"Each FRS has autonomy for purchasing and maintaining its own fleet and therefore different practices exist across the UK in relation to fleet competence. At present, MWWFRS has no intention of removing the ARP from its fleet of emergency response appliances."
FBU brigade secretary for Mid and West Wales Barrie Davies said: "CARPs are being used in a small minority of UK fire and rescue services as an aid to assist in balancing perceived budgets in the medium and long term."