Great Yarmouth fire team gets �600,000 boost

A NEW long reach �600,000 fire fighting vehicle will shortly be aiding life saving efforts and helping high-risk rescues in the region go as safely as possible.

The Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) was bought by Norfolk Fire Service in October but is expected to be in use from April onwards once enough staff from the Great Yarmouth station, its home, are fully trained to use it.

Standing 32m tall, it has an outreach of 24m and the ability to reach down 5m.

Station manager Jonathan Wilby said of the 26-tonne investment: 'Without a shadow of a doubt it enhances our fire fighting capabilities and rescue capabilities and fire fighter safety, and that's what I'm happy about.

'Even though we're having to tighten our belts the service priority remains that of fire fighter safety by purchasing the most modern equipment on the market.'

The ALP requires two fire fighters to operate, holding a maximum of four people in the top cage and allowing up to eight people to use a ladder which runs along its frame.

It will replace a current equivalent based at the station which is reaching the end of its lifespan after decades of service.

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Covering the eastern side of the county, it will also be used in Lowestoft in a mutual aid scheme with Suffolk Fire Service.

Mr Wilby explained that they hoped to have up to ten staff trained in time for its launch in April.

He added: 'It will predominantly be used for roof fires and building fires- anything with over three or four floors is where it comes into its own.

'However it can also be used for fires where access is difficult, tight urban areas or, when reaching down, if you've got a ship in the port in trouble for example.'

The ALP is one of three in the Norfolk, with the others based at stations in Kings Lynn and Earlham.

As well as the ladder section, it will also have a basket stretcher, which can be used in the main cage or suspended underneath it.