Merseyside Fire Service trials fire-fighting motorcycles


July 29, 2010

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is getting ready to trial a couple of firefighting motorcycle response units from August (all photos by Tony Thomas)

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is getting ready to trial a couple of firefighting motorcycle response units from August (all photos by Tony Thomas)

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Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will be joined by a couple of new recruits from next month. For the first time in the UK, two specially-kitted-out firefighting motorcycles will begin attending small rubbish fires as part of a six month feasibility trial. In addition to the customized motorcycles, the Service has also commissioned new protective equipment for the riders.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service's Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mike Hagen explained: "anti-social behavior fires, such as wheelie bins and skips, account for 62 per cent of our total fire call-outs. We used to send a fire engine with a full crew to tackle them, but we want these appliances available for emergencies where life or property are at risk. In recent years we have looked at alternative ways to tackle these incidents and these fire bikes offer a new, exciting possibility."

The solution being trialled next month involves two new BMW RT1200 police-spec bikes that have been fitted with two 25 liter water tanks and a 30 meter hose reel with a lance delivery branch that produces water droplets and foam. The mixture of foam and water is designed to "knock back" a fire quickly.

Although motorcycles are already being used by Fire Departments throughout the world, this is the first time such a solution has been rolled out in the UK. The firefighting riders are both advanced motorcyclists and have been working closely with Bikesafe, which promotes safe riding for everyday motorcyclists. Not only do they get to try out the new motorcycles, but they also benefit from newly designed protective gear, too.

The Fire and Rescue Service has worked alongside Universal Carbon Fibres to produce personal protective equipment that not only meets EU firefighting standards, but also EU professional motorcycle rider standards. Group Manager John McCormack added: "the bike(s) and the kit have been specifically designed so that they are safe and fit for purpose and we are impressed with the products that we now have. We will now be trialling them for six months on the streets of Merseyside."

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With that much weight on the rear wheel the front is going to lose traction, especially on wet or loose surfaces. They better rig training wheels that will deploy at low speeds.

Facebook User

This is a great idea. I think it could still be improved. I am surprised I have not seen an Xtracycle type design for the motorcycle. Think - utility motorcycle. It would have a longer wheelbase, and designed for carrying loads. It could go places many cars could not. If I ever learn to weld maybe I\'ll try to build one.

Geez, and I thought Paulie and Mikey built a really cool Fire Bike, and Cyril Huze?

Vaughan Pederson

I\'m thinking that the Can Am Spyder would give better stability, and offer a higher payload.


Shouldn\'t \"FIRE\" be spelled on the fairings so that drivers can read it in their mirrors?

Alan Belardinelli

Hello My name is Diogo Battaglin, I am a cadet firefighter in Santa Catarina, Brazil. I need to do an analysis on the feasibility of using motorcycles for fire fighting especially in large cities, in which situations it is more convenient to use, load capacity, type of LGE that it must carry; difficulties with the lack of effective in garrison, training trims... I always found the idea interesting, and now I need to do an end of course work, I decided to invest in this matter. If anyone has knowledge on the subject, or some work to talk about it and can provide a source for the development of the my?

I thank

Diogo Battaglin

Diogo Battaglin

Using something like a CanAm would void the benefits of a motorcycle... The ability to get through traffic swiftly, and manoeuvre in tight spaces...

Sure this is a heavily loaded bike, but no more than carrying a pillion passenger, it only has 50kg of water on-board, that is only a little passenger...

If the load is on front of the rear axle then the weight will be distributed to both axles increasing traction on both tyres... Of course 'Popping a mono' will be easier than without, but on a RT1200 that's never a problem anyhow...

Riding is always a balancing act.

No mention if the bike is able to hook into the Hydrant network, so if more than 50L of water is needed can they tap into the town water supply. Sure 50L of water is a lot on a WHelie bin fire, but not a lot on a car fire.. Ok using suppressant foam give more bang for the Litre, but still more may be needed. Obvious management plan is:get a bike onsite early, and if more is needed get a truck in. At least one Fire person onsite will be able to get a heads-up of the situation.

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