New Dimension programme

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The New Dimension programme, sometimes referred to as the New Dimension or New Dimensions, was started by the Department for Communities and Local Government in the UK, for fire and rescue services in England and Wales, following the 2001 terror attacks.

New Dimension vehicles of Avon Fire and Rescue Service

It has provided equipment, training and standardised procedures to deal with terrorist attacks and major environmental disasters.[1] By July 2004, the New Dimensions programme had provided £56m to various projects, a further £132m was promised for the period up to 2007 ,[1] it operates at a national, regional and local level, and while it does not apply specifically to Scotland, a Fire and Rescue Service circular, published in 2007 noted that: "Officials in the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive agree in principle that the general terms of the Mutual Aid Protocol should apply ‘cross-border’ between Scotland, England (and Wales)." [2] New Dimension provides a co-ordinated approach across the emergency services, and local authority emergency planners and it has been supported and promoted by the Chief Fire Officers Association.

The scope of the New Dimension programme[edit]

New Dimension is part of CLG's fire resilience programme, which also includes the FireLink and FiReControl projects. It has already delivered a range of equipment to the FRS to assist with handling large scale incidents. The vehicles supplied as part of the New Dimension provision will be fitted with the new FireLink digital radios, which will provide the foundations of a single wide area communications system in England, Wales and Scotland.

The purpose of New Dimension is to provide information and guidance for fire and rescue services on emergency response to the following specific types of incident:

  • Terrorist CBRN threats
  • Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents
  • Industrial and domestic accidents
  • Chemical spills and collapsed buildings
  • Natural disasters
  • Floods and earthquakes

The onus is on fire services to provide "New Dimension capability", and legislation for England, passed in April 2007, recognised a fire and rescue service's responsibilities for dealing with the above types of incident. The Fire and Rescue Services (Emergencies)(England) Order 2007 is a statutory instrument which requires that fire services make provision for dealing with CBRN incidents and structural collapse.[3] Money from New Dimension has been used (as one example) to provide fire services with new specialist Urban Search and Rescue appliances and equipment. Previously, fire services were not specifically equipped to deal with largescale USAR incidents.

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