Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

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Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service
Operational area
Country  United Kingdom
Country  England
County  Suffolk
Agency overview
Chief Fire Officer Mark Hardingham
Facilities and equipment
Stations 35
Official website

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service covering Suffolk in East Anglia, England.[1] It was formed in 1948 as the Suffolk & Ipswich Fire Service, before changing after the 1974 Local Government Review to 'Suffolk Fire Service'. Following the 2004 Fire & Rescue Services Act, the service name was changed to Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service to better reflect its role.

Fire Stations[edit]

There are a total of 35 fire stations across Suffolk, four whole time, three day crewed and 28 On Call.[2] All whole time/day crewed/nucleus crewed stations also have an On Call section.

Whole time[edit]

  • 01, Ipswich East, Ipswich (Rescue Water Ladder x2, Rescue Water Tender, Ariel Ladder Platform, Operational Support Unit, Bulk Foam Unit, Incident Response Unit)
  • 03, Princes Street, Ipswich (Rescue Water Ladder x2, Enhanced Rescue Tender, Water Rescue Unit)
  • 30, Bury St Edmunds (Rescue Water Ladder x2, Enhanced Rescue Tender, Multistar aerial appliance, Water Rescue Unit, Unimog)
  • 36, Lowestoft South, Lowestoft (Rescue Water Ladder x2, Enhanced Rescue Tender, Water Rescue Unit, Unimog)

Day crewed[edit]

  • 28, Haverhill (Pump Rescue Tender), Pump Rescue Tender), (British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Unit)
  • 35, Newmarket (Rescue Water Ladder, Pump Rescue Tender, Water Carrier)

Nucleus Crewed[edit]

  • 06, Felixstowe (Rescue Water Ladder x2), (British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Unit)

On Call[edit]

Sudbury fire station

New Fire Stations[edit]

A PFI project has been undertaken to replace/refurbish fire stations within Suffolk.

New stations have been built at the following locations:

  • Lowestoft South - six bay station on new site (Stradbroke Road) replacing Clifton Road RDS and Normanshurst WDS (Wholetime/On Call)
  • North Lowestoft - one pump station on existing site
  • Needham Market - one pump station on existing site
  • Nayland - one pump station on existing site
  • Hadleigh - one pump station on new site (Calais Street)
  • Ipswich East - six bay station on new site (The Havens, Ransomes Europark) replacing Colchester Road WDS/On Call

In addition, certain stations have been refurbished, such as Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe and Sudbury.

As part of this scheme, ancillary activities at Normanshurst and Colchester Road have moved. Workshops have moved to Phoenix House in West Ipswich with Suffolk CC Highways, whilst Control has been closed down (see below).

A new Training Centre has been built at Wattisham Flying Station for Service use, in a partnership with the Army. Facilities include a "hot fire" multi-level training complex, a section of railway track complete with level crossing and carriages supplied by Network Rail, a bus, and various RTC scenarios using LGVs and cars.

In February 2014, a new Fire Station in Reydon was opened, replacing the previous one at Station Road, Southwold.

Incident Updates and Social Media[edit]

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service publish incidents of media interest on their Facebook page. Fire Control update the incidents as they progress. In addition, safety messages, public meeting notifications and some photos can be found on the page. Go to SFRS Facebook page

As from July 2014, Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service have also started an Instagram page to showcase photos of the Service in action. Go to SFRS Instagram

Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service also have a YouTube channel with clips of the Service in their day-to-day operations including incidents. Go to SFRS YouTube

Fire Control[edit]

As of October 25, 2011, 999 calls to Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service are answered by a Combined Control run by Cambridgeshire F&RS. From this date, all 999 calls are handled in Huntingdon rather than the previous site in Ipswich.

Fire PPE[edit]

SFRS use the Gallet F1 helmet introduced in 2009, and contract supplied Ballyclare PBI Gold firefighting kit which was introduced in May 2011.

Chief Fire Officers[edit]

1948-1952 Francis Winteringham
1952- March 1974 Howard F. Griffiths
April 1974 - November 1981 Melville Willis
December 1981 - November 1991 Terry Miles
December 1991 - 1997. Tony Baker
1997-2004 Malcolm Alcock
2004- Lee Howell
2009–2013 Andy Fry
2013 - present Mark Hardingham

Fire Appliances[edit]

Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service have a varied fleet of appliances serving the county.

Rescue Water Ladders (Callsign P3/P4)[edit]

Frontline pumping appliances are known as Rescue Water Ladders. These are all Volvo FL6 or FLL chassis with either Excalibur CBK, Saxon Sanbec, John Dennis Coachworks or Emergency One bodywork.

Rescue Water Tenders (Callsign P1)[edit]

Similar to Rescue Water Ladders, these appliances differ by not having a 13.5m ladder on the appliance. Some are 2014 Compact appliances with a smaller water tank and a single hosereel.

Pump Rescue Tenders/Ladders (PRT/PRL) (Callsign P5)[edit]

Again similar to Rescue Water Ladders, these appliances carry extra RTC equipment and have less hoses. PRTs are stationed at Leiston, Newmarket, Stradbroke, Stowmarket, Sudbury and Haverhill. Any RTC in Suffolk has a Pre Determined Attendance of the nearest PRT, PRL or ERT and an additional two pumping appliances.

Enhanced Rescue Tenders (ERT) (Callsign R5)[edit]

New in 2009, there are 3 ERTs within the county which respond to incidents in their own areas and support PRT's in their areas. At any LGV/PSV collision, an ERT is dispatched if not already on the pre-determined attendance. ERT's carry additional equipment to that of PRT's including extra 90 tonne cutters and other heavy duty equipment for use at large vehicle collisions. The three ERT's are stationed at Princes Street, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft South. These are all Volvo FLLs with JDC bodywork.

Arial Ladder Platform (ALP) & Multistar Aerial Appliance (Callsign A6)[edit]

Suffolk has an ALP based at Ipswich East and a Multistar based at Bury St Edmunds. The Turntable Ladder is on a Volvo FM12 chassis with Bronto 32m booms new in late 2013. The Multistar is a Volvo chassis with a Magirus boom package.

Water Carriers (WRC) (Callsign W7)[edit]

There are 2 Water Carriers within the county, based at Leiston and Newmarket. Leiston appliance is a Mercedes vehicle bought from Dairy Crest, whilst Newmarket's is a 1994 Volvo with a Crossland Tankers body built in 2006. 2 new Water Carriers are due in 2014/2015 to replace the older vehicles.

Command Support Vehicles (CSV) (Callsign C9)[edit]

For command and control, Suffolk have Command Support Vehicles. Based at Woodbridge (Vauxhall Movano), Beccles (Fiat Ducato) and Ixworth (Citroen Relay). These vehicles attend incidents of 4 pumps or more, or on request of the Incident Commander.

Operational Support Units (OSU) (Callsign S9)[edit]

A single Operational Support Unit covers Suffolk, being based at Ipswich East. The vehicle is a Volvo FL6 with James Newell curtainside bodywork and a Moffatt Mounty forklift attached to the rear. The OSU carries a variety of equipment such as salvage structures, foam stocks, chemical spill packs - all palletted to be removed/replaced by the fork lift. A similar vehicle was based at Haverhill until July 2011 when it moved to Ipswich East for use as a Bulk Foam OSU. A new Volvo FL6 OSU is due to replace these vehicles in 2014.

Water Incident Vehicles (WiV) (Callsign R8)[edit]

There are 3 Water Incident Vehicles based on Vauxhall Movano vans. These are based at Princes Street, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft South. Two WiV's normally respond to water based incidents. An exception to this is when attending animal rescues. In this case, they attend with a fire appliance and/or a Unimog. WiV's can also be used for incidents involving mud etc. as crews wear drysuits which makes decontamination easier.

Unimog (L4V) (Callsign T9)[edit]

Suffolk bought 3 Mercedes Unimog vehicles in 1994 to provide off-road capability for the county. They were also used to tow the Service's two fireboats. Two remain in service one each at Bury and Lowestoft South. The third was written off in service by a mishap in Felixstowe.

Officer Cars[edit]

Flexi-Duty officers use the Ford Mondeo or Hyundai iX35 cars as response vehicles.

New Dimensions Equipment[edit]

Suffolk have an Incident Response Unit plus the Derobe/Rerobe modules and Prime Movers as part of the New Dimensions programme.

Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) (Currently Not Operational)[edit]

Suffolk are one of a number of Fire & Rescue Services around the country which respond to maritime incidents. Suffolk often use RAF Sea King helicopters from RAF Wattisham to respond to ships in distress. Suffolk cover a wide area of coastline from Norfolk to Essex, boundaring with Lincolnshire MIRG to the north and Kent MIRG to the South.

Notable Incidents[edit]

  • 2010 - Little Cornard - 21 people injured after train derails on level crossing after a collision with a tanker[3]
  • 2010 - Lowestoft - over 100 firefighters in attendance at a meat processing factory fire [4]
  • 2011 - Ipswich - Psychiatric hospital fire. Patient nearly died after the fire alarm was ignored 8 times[5]
  • 2012 - Hadleigh - 10 crews attend fuel tankers on fire[6]


Firefighting in Suffolk, Saward G., Lavenham Press, 1998

External links[edit]