Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

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Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Staffordshire Fire logo.jpg
The Service's badge features a Stafford knot
Operational area
Country England
County Staffordshire
Agency overview
Established1974 (1974)
Chief Fire OfficerRebecca Bryant
Facilities and equipment
Official website

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service responsible for fire protection, prevention, intervention and emergency rescue in the county of Staffordshire and unitary authority of Stoke-on-Trent. The county has a population of 1,126,200 (mid-2017 est.) and covers a total area of 2,260 sq km (1,010 sq miles). Staffordshire shares the majority of its border with Derbyshire, Cheshire, West Midlands (County) and Shropshire; although, in much shorter stretches, the county also butts up against Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

As of 1st August 2018, the fire service functions under the control of the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner[1] acting as the Fire & Rescue Authority.

The county provides considerable risks to its residents and firefighters. These include the industrial city of Stoke-on-Trent and the large industrial towns of Burton-upon-Trent, Stafford, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Tamworth and Cannock.

The busiest stretch of motorway in Europe (the M6 between Walsall and the north-west) runs through the county, as does the M6 Toll road. The main 'A‘ roads the A5, A50, A34 and A38 also cross the county. These well-used routes are regularly the scene of numerous road traffic accidents, vehicle fires and chemical incidents.

There are also many significant rural risks in Staffordshire: The medieval hunting grounds of Cannock Chase is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and is made up of heathland, chaseland and forest that stretches between Stafford, Cannock, Rugeley and Chase Terrace. In the north of the county the Staffordshire Moorlands is an area of remote wilderness where The Pennines spill over the Derbyshire and Cheshire borders, and has an area of around 576 square kilometres (220 square miles). These areas pose a considerable risk of wildfires, and regularly keep firefighters extremely busy during hot dry spells. Also, the moorlands offer their own logistical difficulties during harsh winters, particularly to the residents of the towns and villages dotted throughout the hills - towns like Leek and Biddulph, and the villages of Ipstones and Longnor amongst others. The Staffordshire Moorlands is home to Flash, the highest village in Britain. It stands 463 metres (1,518 feet) above sea level.


Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service ceremonial squad

The service is run under the command of the Chief Fire Officer and an executive board, and provides emergency response from 33 strategically located fire stations, divided into three delivery groups:

  • Northern
  • Eastern
  • Western

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service has its headquarters and training school at Pirehill near the town of Stone in mid-Staffordshire. Their fire control centre used to be at Pirehill, but was closed after its amalgamation with fire control of the West Midlands Fire Service in March 2014. So now both brigades operate under a joint control centre situated in Birmingham. The county's maintenance workshops are located at the Joint Emergency Transport Facility in Trentham Lakes industrial park, a Joint Workshop with Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

A Scania P94D appliance outside Brewood Fire Station in October 2015

Of the thirty-three strategically located fire stations, only Stafford, Tamworth Belgrave and Sandyford operate on a completely wholetime 24-hour crewing basis. Longton, Hanley, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cannock and Burton-upon-Trent operate as wholetime/retained stations, which means, along with a 24-hour station-based complement of firefighters, they have retained on-call "back-up" personnel that, when required, crew the second fire engine housed at the fire station, as well as some of the specialist appliances stationed there. All wholetime firefighters work the four "watch" system. This produces an eight-day week, with crews operating on a "two-days-on, two-nights-on, four-days-off" system. The eight-day week means that a firefighter's duty shifts and their days off "rotate" by one day week-to-week. Leek and Lichfield fire stations are day-crewed/retained: firefighters respond from the fire station as wholetime firefighters between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm with a retained on-call crew available if needed to crew other appliances based at the station. After 8:00pm the stations become retained on-call only, and the fire appliances are crewed by the same firefighters but not from the station itself. All other Staffordshire fire stations are retained on-call only. All retained firefighters respond from home or work, and are notified by a pager, and, therefore, have to live or work within five minutes driving time of their station to meet strict Home Office response times.

Fire stations/appliances[edit]

Station Callsign Station Name Duty System Appliances
T11 Leek Day Crewed/Retained PRT, WrT/ARU, L4V
T12 Longnor Retained RRP
T13 Biddulph Retained PRL
T14 Ipstones Retained RRP
T15 Cheadle Retained PRL, F/WC
T21 Newcastle-under-Lyme Wholetime/Retained/Cross Crewed* PRT, WrT, WRU*, WFU*, IRU*
T22 Kidsgrove Retained PRL
T24 Loggerheads Retained PRL
T31 Hanley Wholetime/Retained/Cross Crewed* 2x PRL, 2x PM* for EDLU, WSU and MDD demountable pod units
T32 Burslem Retained WrT
T33 Longton Wholetime/Retained/Cross Crewed* PRT, WrT, ALP*, RT*, DIM*
T34 Sandyford Wholetime PRT, VSU
T41 Stafford Wholetime/Cross Crewed* PRL, RRU*
T42 Stone Retained/Cross Crewed* PRL, ICU*
T43 Eccleshall Retained PRL
T44 Gnosall Retained PRL
T45 Rising Brook, Stafford Retained WrT
T51 Burton-upon-Trent Wholetime/Retained/Cross Crewed* PRT, WrT, ALP*, WFU*, IRU*
T52 Uttoxeter Retained PRL
T53 Tutbury Retained PRL
T54 Abbots Bromley Retained PRL
T55 Barton-under-Needwood Retained PRL
T61 Cannock Wholetime/Retained PRT, RRP, HAR, F/WC
T62 Rugeley Retained/Cross Crewed* PRL, 2x PM* for 2x HVP modules*
T71 Lichfield Day Crewed/Retained PRT, TRV
T72 Chase Terrace Retained PRL
T81 Tamworth Mercia Retained WrT
T82 Tamworth (Belgrave) Wholetime/Cross Crewed* PRT, WRU*
T91 Bilbrook & Codsall Retained PRL
T92 Penkridge Retained PRL
T93 Brewood Retained PRL
T94 Wombourne Retained PRL
T95 Kinver Retained PRL

Fire appliance glossary/callsigns[edit]

  • PRT - Pump Rescue Tender: P1
  • PRL - Pump Rescue Ladder: P1/P2
  • WrT - Water Tender: P1/P2
  • RRP - Rural Response Pump: P1/P2
  • WrT/ARU - Water Tender/Animal Rescue Unit: P2
  • TRV - Targeted Response Vehicle (light pumping appliance): L1
  • HAR - Unimog All-Terrain Heathland Pump/Animal Rescue Unit: R3
  • ALP - Aerial Ladder Platform: A1
  • RT - Rescue Tender: R1
  • F/WC - Foam/Water Carrier: W1
  • WRU - Water Rescue Unit: R2
  • RRU - Rope Rescue Unit: R5
  • ICU - Incident Control Unit: C1
  • L4V - Light 4x4 Vehicle: M1
  • WFU - Welfare Unit: S1
  • PM+HVP - Prime Mover + High Volume Pump: T8
  • PM - Prime Mover: T9
  • VSU - Victim Support Unit: S7

Demountable pod units[edit]

  • EDLU - Environmental Damage Limitation Unit.
  • WSU - Welfare Support Unit.

CBRN response[edit]

Staffordshire firefighters wearing breathing apparatus
  • Detection, Identification & Monitoring Unit (DIM): H8
  • Incident Response Unit (IRU): H9
  • Prime Mover + Mass Decontamination Disrobe Unit (PM+MDD): T9
  • 2x prime movers + high-volume-pumping unit and high-volume-pump hose-laying pod: T8

Chassis and bodybuilders in use[edit]

During the 1970s, Staffordshire Fire Brigade operated a mixed fleet of fire appliances built on Ford D, Bedford TK, Thornycroft and Dennis F chassis. The '80s saw the fleet become dominated by Dennis RSs and several SSs with bodywork by Dennis. During the late '80s and early '90s, remaining faithful to Dennis, Staffordshire purchased Dennis Sabres with bodywork by John Dennis Coachbuilders. But after the demise of Dennis as a chassis provider the fleet purchasers at Staffordshire Fire & Rescue service opted for Scania P94Ds with construction responsibilities shared between John Dennis Coachbuilders and Emergency One UK. They also purchased three M.A.N. 14.28 pump rescue ladders that were allocated to quieter, more rural stations; but these didn't prove too popular and were removed from active service ahead of time. As the ageing Dennis fleet was slowly retired the county soon became standardised on the Scania P chassis, although sister company M.A.N. were entrusted to provide the base for several "special" appliances, and to a one-off order of three four-wheeled-drive "Rural Response Pumps" which were allocated to the rural outposts of Longnor near Buxton and to Ipstones near Leek, with the third going to Cannock as their second-away pump.

In 2016, Staffordshire decided to take a drastic step away from the typically British type fire engine - although Staffordshire's current fire engines are built on a foreign chassis with a foreign cab, the actual fire engine itself is quintessentially British, and is typical of the type utilised by almost every British fire service for decades. But in 2017 Staffordshire F&RS placed an order for eleven radical pumping appliances with a very distinctive European flavour from the British arm of the Austrian company Rosenbauer, Rosenbauer UK. Underneath, while still a typical "B-Type" fire engine, in styling they resemble the fire engines seen operating on mainland Europe for decades. They are Rosenbauer AT appliances where the "AT" stands for "advanced technology". So in many ways, they are far removed from the usual British fire engine because of their many innovations developed at Rosenbauer. They are built on the Volvo FL6.14 chassis, which is another first for Staffordshire. Each of Staffordshire's ten wholetime/day-crewed fire stations will receive one AT, with the eleventh going to Penkridge, Staffordshire's busiest on-call (retained) station. The appliances are similar to those purchased by Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. Deliveries were expected to begin in the Spring of 2018, but because of teething problems, they actually began to be made operational in February 2019 and continued through the spring and summer of 2019, at a rate of one or two per month.

Staffordshire designate their frontline pumping appliances in four different ways: Pump Rescue Ladder, Pump Rescue Tender, Water Tender and Rural Response Pump. But in the spring of 2019 managers committed to simplify the jargon by referring to all of their frontline pumping appliances as Pump Rescue Ladders (PRL) in the near future. But for now the following list of chassis and body-builders explains the current fleet's designations:

  • PRL - Latest purchases that became operational in 2019 - Volvo FL6.14/Rosenbauer AT
  • PRT - Scania P285DB/Emergency One
  • PRL & WrT - Scania P94D/Emergency One, Scania P94D/John Dennis Coachbuilders, Scania 270DB/Emergency One
  • RRP - M.A.N. TGM 15.284 (4x4)/Emergency One
  • WrT/ARU - M.A.N. TGM 15.280 (4x4)/Emergency One
  • TRV - Mercedes Benz Sprinter 515 CDi/Angloco
  • HAR - Mercedes Benz Unimog U5000/Angloco
  • ALP - Scania P94DB/Bronto Skyline F32RL/Angloco
  • RT - Scania P270DB/Wawrzaszek/Emergency One
  • F/WC - M.A.N. TGA 26.363 (6x4)/Angloco
  • WRU - Mercedes Benz Sprinter 516 CDi/?
  • RRU - Land Rover 110 Defender 2.5 TDi/?
  • ICU - Mercedes Benz Sprinter 515 CDi/McNeillie
  • L4V - Ford Ranger/?
  • WFU - Vauxhall Movano 2.5 CDTi/?
  • HVP - M.A.N. TGA 26.363 Highline/Kuiken Hytrans
  • PM - M.A.N. TGA 26.363 Highline
  • VSU - Fiat Mobile Home (British Red Cross vehicle)

Austerity, budget cuts and "modernisation"[edit]

After the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, the British government had little choice but to adopt austerity measures.

By 2009 austerity had seen 70 full-time firefighter jobs lost in Staffordshire alone. Then between 2011 and 2015 Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were forced to make a £4 million saving. In 2016 they had a further £1.5 million cut from their £45 million annual budget.

Along with firefighters, appliances were lost too. Burton-upon-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme each used to operate two wholetime fire engines and one retained. Both stations had a wholetime pump replaced by a 'targeted response vehicle': a smaller fire appliance based on a Mercedes Benz van chassis. Several of these appliances were purchased over the next few years, and were used in place of conventional full-sized fire engines. Reports of their effectiveness were mixed, but eventually all but one of them has been retired or mothballed. Today only Lichfield operate one, and is crewed by their retained sector.

Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent city centre used to operate a turntable ladder high-reach appliance, but it was never replaced when it was retired. County town Stafford once operated two wholetime pumps, a high-reach aerial ladder platform, a rescue tender and a rope rescue unit. Today it just operates one wholetime pump and the ageing Land Rover rope rescue unit. Its hydraulic platform and rescue tender were not replaced upon their retirement, and their second pump transferred to the newly built Rising Brook retained fire station on the opposite side of the town.

Burslem fire station in Stoke-on-Trent was once a wholetime/retained station operating two pumps and a foam tender, but when in 2011 a new one-pump wholetime fire station became operational at Sandyford near Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, Burslem fire station became a single-pump retained set-up, with their foam capability transferring to Cheadle. At the same time the two-pump day-crewed/retained station at Kidsgrove to the north of Stoke lost their day-crewed pump, becoming a one-pump retained station.

The two-pump retained fire stations of Uttoxeter, Cheadle and Wombourne each lost their water tender in 2007. With two-pump retained Rugeley and Stone losing theirs in 2016.

In 2010/2011 Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service began a major fire station rebuild and modernisation programme. The £100 million required to build twenty-two brand-new state-of-the-art 'community fire stations' and to modernise six others came from a PFI initiative. The towns of Stafford and Tamworth also gained a second fire station to enable firefighters to meet strict attendance times in the congested towns. The extensive rebuild was divided into two phases:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]