Blue light partnership celebrated in Suffolk

The new joint fire and ambulance station in Bury St Edmunds.

The new joint fire and ambulance station in Bury St Edmunds.

The new shared Bury St Edmunds base for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) was officially opened on 14 November. The adapted Bury St Edmunds fire station has been designed to share property assets, reduce operating costs, and improve services for Suffolk communities.

Among the new facilities available on site for the ambulance service is a reporting station that will house up to 28 operational staff, an office for three administrative staff, dedicated crew room and locker facilities and three new response vehicle bays with vehicle charging points.

Facilities to be shared by the two organisations include a new ground floor meeting room, kitchenette, welfare facilities, community room and a general office space.

Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, said, “This collaboration will improve the way we deliver emergency services for the people of Suffolk, demonstrating how the services can work more efficiently and effectively together and it will also reduce costs and increase resilience.”

Chief Fire Officer at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Mark Hardingham said, “I’m delighted that the hard work of the officers and staff from both our services has provided this shared facility that improves all our emergency response arrangements. We now have 10 of our 35 fire stations shared with either police or ambulance colleagues and plans for more to come in the next few years.”

Plans to redevelop the station in Parkway, Bury St Edmunds, began in late 2014 when unused office space was identified as an ideal location for the EEAST to establish a central position in the town. Building work was completed in May and administrative staff began to move in during summer. Phased relocation of response vehicles was completed by September 2015.