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Fire service spends thousands borrowing equipment from other regions

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 March 2019

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has borrowed a fire investigation dog on two occasion over the past three years. Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has borrowed a fire investigation dog on two occasion over the past three years. Picture: Ian Burt

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Norfolk’s fire service has paid thousands of pounds to other regions to borrow services or seek support at incidents.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue at the scene of a blaze. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodNorfolk Fire and Rescue at the scene of a blaze. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that from 2016-2018 Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) spent an average of £25,711.67 each year to Cambridgshire Fire Service to attend incidents on its behalf.

The force also paid Derbyshire Fire Service £1,679 to borrow its fire investigation dogs.

NFRS does not currently have its own fire investigation dog and over the past three years has twice borrowed one from Derbyshire, once in September 2016 at a cost of £855.90 and again in November 2018 for £824.

Fire services are legally obliged to make resources available to other regions and in turn able to request resources from other fire services.

And, as well as borrowing equipment, NFRS has supported operations in other parts of the country, for example in January 2017, when firefighters supported colleagues in Hereford and Worcester for £6213.91.

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council which runs NFRS said: “Reinforcement schemes operate nationally and include working across geographical borders to ensure a dedicated and co-ordinated response to incidents.

“These decisions are taken on an individual basis, based on where the incident is and the resources required.

“Mutual aid agreements help to ensure the fastest possible response times with the most appropriate resources.

“For example with large fires, NFRS may need to borrow additional equipment such as extra aerial ladder platforms or high volume pumps from neighbouring services, and vice versa.”

They added fire investigation dogs are used to investigation fires where there are suspicious activities such as arson or where there has been a serious injury or fatality as the result of a fire.

And while the service does not currently have its own fire dog, this was under review: “We continue to borrow dogs where required from other services as is common practice.

“The priority of all Fire & Rescue Service including here in Norfolk is to protect life and we strive to work together to attend incidents as quickly as possible with the best resources we can to help us achieve this,” they said.

NFRS’s budget for 2018-19 is £28.243m.

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