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."