Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
Operational area
Country England
County Cornwall
Agency overview
Chief Fire OfficerMark Hewitt (temp)
Facilities and equipment

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service covering Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The Service employs 428 retained firefighters, 201 full-time firefighters, plus over 120 support and administrative staff.[1] Created under the Fire Services Act 1947 as "Cornwall Fire Brigade", the name changed to "Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service" on 1 October 2009,[2] leaving London and Cleveland as the only two UK fire services to use the name "Fire Brigade".

The service is administered by Cornwall Council, With a new Service Headquarters (SHQ) at Tolvaddon opened in 2015

As part of the FiReControl project, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Services' control room was planned to switch over to the regional control centre in Taunton, Somerset. Originally scheduled to take place in July 2010, the cutover date was revised to January 2012,[3] however the plan was scrapped in December 2010.[4]

Fire Stations/Appliances[edit]

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operates 31 fire stations,[5] of which two are crewed day and night (wholetime), five are day-crewed (Monday to Sunday, 07:00 to 19:00) and the remainder are crewed by retained firefighters, who live near to their fire station and can arrive there within five minutes of a call being received. Due to an influx in visitors during the summer months, Newquay is changed to a wholetime structure during the summer period. The breakdown of stations is as follows:

  • 2 wholetime/retained stations
  • 5 day-crewed stations/retained stations
  • 24 retained stations

Station Callsign Station Name Duty System Appliances
1.1 Penzance Day Crewed/Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 2x WRU, 1x ESV
1.2 St. Just Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x ICU
1.3 St. Ives Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x LPA, 1x Co-Responder Car
2.0 Tolvaddon Wholetime/Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x RT, 1x LRU, 1x LRU support vehicle 1x FESS
2.3 Perranporth Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
2.4 Hayle Retained 1x WrL
3.1 Falmouth Wholetime/Retained 2x WrL, 2x WRU, 1x Fire Boat, 1x BASU, 1x Marine Support Unit
3.2 St. Keverne Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x Co-Responder Car
3.3 Mullion Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x Co-Responder Car
3.4 Helston Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x WrC, 1x Co-Responder Car
4.1 Truro Day Crewed/Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x ALP
4.2 St. Mawes Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x Co-Responder Car
4.3 Mevagissey Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
5.1 Newquay Wholetime/Day Crewed/Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x ALP, PM pods 1x HVP, 1x HVHL, 1x MDD, 1x Foam Unit
5.2 St. Columb Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
5.3 Padstow Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
5.4 Wadebridge Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x WrC
6.1 St. Austell Day Crewed/Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 2x WRU, 1x BASU
6.2 St. Dennis Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x Welfare Support Unit
6.3 Fowey Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
6.4 Lostwithiel Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
6.5 Polruan Retained 1x WrT, 1x LPA, 1x Co-Responder Car
7.1 Bodmin Day Crewed/Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x RT, 1x LRU, 1x L4V, 1x IRU
7.2 Delabole Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA
7.3 Bude Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 2x WRU
7.4 Launceston Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x ICU
8.1 Liskeard Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x WrC
8.2 Looe Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA, 1x Limited Access Vehicle
8.3 Saltash Retained 1x WrL, 1x WrT, 1x ESV
8.4 Torpoint Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA,
8.5 Callington Retained 1x WrL, 1x LPA

Fire Appliance Glossary/Callsigns[edit]

  • Water Ladder (WrL): P1/P2
  • Water Tender (WrT): P5/P9
  • Light 4x4 Pump (LPA): P6
  • Limited Access Vehicle (LAV): No Callsign
  • Water Carrier (WrC): W1
  • Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP): A1
  • Inshore Rescue Boat (IrbT): B1
  • Incident Command Unit (ICU): C1
  • Environmental Support Unit (ESU): H1
  • Incident Response Unit (IRU): H9
  • Rescue Tender (RT): R1
  • Water Rescue Unit (WRU): R2/R2A
  • Line Rescue Unit (LRU): R4
  • Breathing Apparatus Support Unit (BASU): S1
  • Welfare Support Unit (WSU): S4
  • Fire & Emergency Support Service (FESS): N Callsign
  • Marine Support Unit (MSU): T1
  • Co-Responder Car: S5


  • High Volume Pump (HVP)
  • High Volume Hose Layer (HVHL)
  • Mass Decontamination Disrobe (MDD)

Co-responder stations[edit]

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service works in partnership with South Western Ambulance Service to provide emergency medical cover to area of Cornwall. These are areas that have been identified as having a greater need for ambulance cover. The aim of a co-responder team is to preserve life until the arrival of either a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) or an ambulance.[6] Co-responder vehicles are equipped with oxygen and automated external defibrillator (AED) equipment.

The fire stations operating as co-responders are:

  • Helston
  • Mullion
  • St. Keverne
  • St. Mawes
  • Polruan

Workshop and stores[edit]

The Service workshop and stores are located at the Tolvaddon SHQ. The workshop contains 5 bays containing one HGV ramp bay, one car and van ramp bay and . The setup enables up to 5 vehicles to be in the workshop at any one time.

The workshop also houses the stores, including both clothing and equipment, and holds over 7,000 items including operational equipment like branches and radios, and clothing from tunics to dress uniforms. This is always updated to ensure any equipment or clothing needed is ready to be dispatched immediately to wherever it is needed.

The workshops also maintain all of the operational equipment, from repairing the lengths of hoses to the breathing apparatus (BA) sets; this is carried out by the specialist "hose shop" also located on-site.

Emergency repair is available 24/7 through an "on call" system where mechanics take turns to provide 24-hour service if an appliance or equipment becomes defective.

Fire appliances[edit]

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service uses a variety of front-line and specialist appliances:

Water rescue ladder (WrL)[edit]

Also referred to as the 'first away' appliance, it is usually mobilised to every incident. It carries an array of equipment including crash rescue equipment (CRE), breathing apparatus, water rescue equipment and a thermal imaging camera.

Their major capabilities include pumping up to 2,000 litres (440 gallons) per minute between two locations. It has a storage capacity of 1,800 litres (396 gallons). The pump carries a 13.5 metre (44 ft) ladder, a short extension ladder and a roof ladder.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as WRL's:

  • Mercedes Atego 1328F
  • Mercedes LK 1124AF
  • Volvo FL290

Water rescue tender (WrT)[edit]

Also referred to as the "second away". These appliances are broadly similar to the Water Tender Ladders, but carry a different range of equipment, with ladders up to 10.5 metres (34 ft) and carry 1400L of water. They are not the primary responder to a road traffic collision, despite carrying hydraulic cutting equipment. The water tenders are used to support water tender ladders at fires and to attend miscellaneous calls. Some Second Away appliances have the advantage of being 4x4 and sometimes they will be the first appliance to respond in harsh weathers such as snow, fire control may also mobiles the second away to turn out first if the incident is situated in a field and the all wheel drive would be necessary. A water tender, like its counterpart, is capable of carrying up to six firefighters.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as WRT's:

  • Mercedes LK 1124AF
  • Mercedes LK 1120AF
  • Mercedes Unimog U500

Light 4x4 Pump (L4P)[edit]

L4P's are based on a 4x4 chassis and designed with off-road capability. These appliances would be requested, or mobilised with the main appliance, to incidents that may be difficult to reach - either due to narrow roads or the terrain. These vehicles have a lightweight pump mounted on the back which feeds either a hosereel or 75 mm hose. They can also be fed by a small on-board water tank or from a hydrant.

The 4x4 appliances have the capability to carry a crew of up to four. Some carry 2 sets of breathing apparatus however they carry a limited amount of equipment (due to its size).

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as L4P's:

  • Toyota Hi-Lux
  • Vauxhall Brava

Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP)[edit]

The Aerial Ladder Platforms feature a VEMA TFL 343 series platform with a maximum working height of 34M. They are operated by specially trained wholetime and retained firefighters at Newquay and Truro fire stations and are mobilized as part of a pre-determined attendance or by the incident commander.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as ALP's:

  • MAN TGS 26.360

Incident Command Unit (ICU)[edit]

Cornwall Fire and Rescue have 2 ICU's, they are mobilised to any incident over 4 pumps or by request of the incident commander. The ICU's carries specialist equipment to be able to effectively take control of all communications at the incident ground. In the rear of the unit are specialized computers with links to chemical identification databases and aerial maps. The ICU's are also fitted with satellite systems and external Television screen which can show maps to senior officers viewing from outside

The vehicles are crewed by both officers and firefighters and are able to communicate with fire control as well as officers and firefighters on the fire ground. It is also acts as a booking in centre for arriving crews.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as ICU's:

  • Mercedes Sprinter 518

Rescue Tender (RT)[edit]

The Rescue Tenders are mobilised by the incident commander or though a pre-determined attendance to an incident. It carries specialized cutting and spreading equipment, lifting airbags gear, and supporting and shoring tools. It is crewed by specially-trained wholetime and retained firefighters from Tolvaddon and Bodmin fire stations.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as RT's:

  • Mercedes Atego 1329F

Line Rescue Unit (LRU)[edit]

The Line Rescue Units carry specialist rope rescue equipment as well as powerful winches and lighting sets. They are mobilized to any report of a person or animal in distress at height or below ground (such as a mine shaft). As the same with the RT's heavy duty winches are mounted on the vehicles to help in pulling or supporting an object. One of the LRU's is based on a 4x4 chassis with a Hiab crane on the rear of the vehicle.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as LRU's:

  • Mercedes Atego 1329F
  • Mercedes LK 1124 4X4

Breathing Apparatus Support Unit (BASU)[edit]

The BA Support Units provide extra equipment relating to Breathing Apparatus needs at the incident ground, This includes extra Cylinders as well as being able to clean and service the sets. They also act as BA main control at larger incidents. These units were previously called Operational Support Vehicles (OSV's) as they use to carry a range of equipment relating to water rescue before the dedicated Water Rescue Units (WRU's) were established.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as BASU's:

  • Mercedes Sprinter 4x4

Welfare Support Unit (WSU)[edit]

The welfare unit comprises a small kitchen area, with a fridge, hot water urn, Microwave and Hand washing facilities. At the rear there is also 2 unisex toilets for use by operational personnel at the incident ground. This unit is generally mobilized to large fires where crews are going to be in attendance for a long period of time, this allows for the firefighters and officers to have a short break, and serves hot and cold refreshments and provides sanitary needs. This unit is based at St. Dennis fire station

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as WSU:

  • Mitsubishi Canter

Environmental support Vehicle (ESV)[edit]

The 2 Environmental Support Vehicles (ESV's) carry specialist equipment to deal with HAZMAT incidents such as spillages and Asbestos related fires. They carry extra gas tight suits, oil absorbent granules, dammit mats and over-drums for sealing leaking chemical drums. They are usually part of the predetermined attendance to all incidents involving chemicals or asbestos.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as ESV's:

  • Vauxhall Movarno

Limited access vehicle (LAV)[edit]

The Limited access vehicle was adapted by service workshops to carry a portable pump, ladder, lengths of hoses and branches and 2 sets of BA. The LAV is designed to navigate around the very small streets of Polperro and is towed to the incident by an L4P.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service operate the following chassis as LAV:

  • Kawasaki Mule 4x4

Mutual assistance[edit]

The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, gives fire services the power to assist other fire services or fire authorities in what is known as mutual assistance.[7]

The fire services that adjoin Cornwall are as follows:

Notable incidents[edit]

This incident saw possibly the largest fire brigade attendance in UK history: 78 different brigades (with over 200 appliances, 147 of which responded from London Fire Brigade) and 38 different military units spread detergent and pumped out contaminated water. The clean-up lasted months and the brigades stayed on-site throughout working 24/7. Cornwall Fire Brigade set up a workshop near the Lizard to maintain the appliances on-site whilst refilling them and portable pumps with petrol. In the height of the operation over 1,600 personnel were on scene.

  • Falmouth dock fire, 18 January 2003:

A fire broke out at the Queens Wharf dock and spanned 360 ft; the dock was well alight. 11 appliances attended as well as a fireboat, which surveyed the situation from the bay.

The first call came into Fire Control in Truro at 16:00 to report a person trapped in a car with the water rising. At 17:30 a major incident was declared and search and rescue helicopters from RNAS Culdrose along with other helicopters throughout the Southwest assisted the fire brigade and Coastguard in evacuating people. 25 appliances attended the scene along with a further 22 for relief purposes. Although the brigade could not do anything with regards to the pumping out of water they assisted searching for persons trapped in their cars and homes and helped bring them to safety via the RNAS search and rescue helicopter. The brigade also carried out salvage work once the water had receded. The brigade were in attendance for a number of days with nearly the whole of the brigades pumping resources in attendance as either first response or as a relief crew.

The first 999 call was received at 00:17; crews from Newquay were first on scene and requested further appliances to attend. The fire consumed all three floors of the hotel and three people died at the scene. 25 appliances attended with support appliances; Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service also provided a turntable ladder, officers and USAR assistance. The cause of the fire is believed to be arson, but no one has been charged. As of the outcome to the incident questions were raised over the retained staffing levels at Newquay fire station and the brigades lack of operational aerial ladder platforms.

  • Athena Ship Fire, 27 October 2010:

The Fish Factory ship the Athena caught fire 230 miles of the southwest coast of the isles of Scilly. 98 of the 111 crew were forced to abandon ship into the life rafts; these were picked up by the container ship the Vega. The Athena was then taken under tow to Falmouth Bay, where Cornwall Fire and Rescue's MIRG (Marine Incident Response Group) was then flown out by helicopter to the ship. Once on board, they started to fight the fire in the hold of the ship which contained around 600,000 cardboard boxes. However, in the early hours of the morning they were forced to evacuate after carbon monoxide levels reached a dangerous level; a couple of firefighters were taken to hospital. The ship is now in control of a salvage team who are finding the best outcome for the ship.

  • South Coast Flooding, 17 November 2010:

During the night and the early hours of the 16/17 November 2010 torrential rain hit the south coast of Cornwall, the ground became saturated and water began to run off of the surrounding fields into the already overflowing rivers causing many to burst their banks. The worst places hit by the storm were Mevagissey, Lostwithiel, The Glynn Valley, St.Blazey, Portloe, St.Austell and Pentewan. Many places saw 3 to 4 feet of water flooding hundreds of homes and shops and causing landslides. Cornwall FRS deployed appliances to the worst-hit areas to pump out shops, roads and homes and to assist with salvage work. Around midday Devon and Cornwall police declared the scenes a Major Incident however there were no casualties.

  • A+P Falmouth Docks Fire, 17 June 2011:

At around 8:00 am a worker was changing over an acetylene cylinder when the tank began to vent and ignited; this in turn ignited other venting tanks. On arrival of the brigade a 300 m[8] cordon was put in place which required surrounding houses and the docks to be evacuated. The brigade extinguished the initial fire but then had to cool the cylinders constantly for 24 hours to prevent the cylinders from exploding due to the heat and pressure buildup. In total Cornwall FRS sent 6 pumping appliances, 1 command support unit, 1 operational support unit, 1 welfare vehicle. The incident lasted for 24 hours and required numerous relief crews to attend overnight.

  • St. Erth Fire, 8 August 2016:

A "significant fire" which broke out at a tyre recycling centre at St. Erth near Hayle continued to blaze throughout the night. Thousands of tyres, a large diesel and an oil tank was caught up in the fire and the large plume of smoke could be seen for miles. The main railway line was closed as was the A30 road. The fire burnt for three days and the whole site was completely destroyed.

Other emergency services[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Facts & Figures". Cornwall County Fire Brigade. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  2. ^ Cornwall Council - Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service Homepage. (7 March 2009). Retrieved on 15 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Control room scrapping 'will help Devon and Somerset". BBC News. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Structure". Cornwall County Fire Brigade. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  6. ^ SWAST Fire Co Responders Archived 15 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004". OPSI. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  8. ^ BBC News Falmouth Dock Fire. (17 June 2011). Retrieved on 15 September 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Books by Arthur Ivan Rabey:
    • 1981: Cornwall's Fire Brigades. St. Columb: I. Rabey
    • 1998: Cornwall County Fire Brigade 1948 - 1998: the first 50 years. St. Columb: I. Rabey
    • 2003: The Centenary of St. Columb Fire Brigade, 1903-2003. St Columb: [the Author]

External links[edit]