The start of an extensive rollout of new fire appliances for London has begun with the first appliance being unveiled at a special event in Scotland, attended by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Babcock International Group (Babcock) has worked jointly with London Fire Brigade in the design of the new fleet, the first since 2007, and has commissioned Cumnock-based manufacturer, Emergency One UK Ltd (E1), to build them.
The first appliance was unveiled at Dumfries House on 29 April at the event attended by His Royal Highness, Babcock employees, Emergency One employees, apprentices and London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Ron Dobson. The appliances have been designed with several major technical changes in comparison to the 2007 model and are expected to have a life of around 12 years.
The new fleet will all be fitted with a Mercedes chassis cab, similar to the 2007 version, before being driven down to Magirus GmbH in Germany where the crew cab will be fitted and then driven to Emergency One to be built into a complete fire appliance. Emergency One was one of several suppliers used for the build of the fleet and was responsible for the body structure, completion fit out and fire engineering. The company, which is the largest local employer in the area, gave its local apprentices, many of whom are also with The Prince’s Trust, the chance to be an integral part in the build programme.
Paul Wilkins, Babcock’s Director of Resilience and Emergency Services, said, “Being an international engineering company we recognise how important it is to encourage and develop the next generation of engineers not just for our company, but for our economy as a whole. This is a major investment and effort for everyone involved but this has also been a great way to celebrate young engineering talent, Babcock’s long term partnership with London Fire Brigade and the work of E1. We know that we have chosen a company that can deliver to the high standards Babcock recognises but also the importance it places in its young apprenticeships and we are delighted to have them working on the project.”
Around 15 E1 staff were involved in the build team ranging from apprentices to senior skilled staff deployed across a variety of disciplines including welding, coach building, electrical and mechanical engineering.
London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ron Dobson (left) said, “It was an honour to be able to show the prototype to His Royal Highness and I am looking forward to the new designs going into service later in the year.”
The new ergonomically designed appliances will all be compliant with Euro 6 legislation meaning lower levels of overall emissions, and the breathing apparatus is being moved away from behind the crew cab to elsewhere in the appliance, which will improve firefighter comfort on journeys.
Babcock has long term contracts to manage and maintain London Fire Brigade’s fleet of vehicles and equipment and design and deliver training for its firefighters. Under the project the first appliance will be rolled out this month after rigorous testing by independent assessors at Millbrook Proving Ground, with a further 52 rolled out as part of the first tranche until the end of 2017.