Twenty Minutes to make the Toast

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News that the Audlem Fire Station had recieved a visit from Top Brass floating the idea that the station should have its faithful old chariot replaced by a shiny new mini model did not go down well at the Parish Council Meeting on Monday night. The reason for this apparent rejection of a Gift Horse was not hard to understand when the full implications of this replacement vehicle became known.

In the profession it is called a Targeted Response Vehicle (TRV) and the Cheshire Fire Authority Corporate Plan and Integrated Risk Management Plan 2006/07, page 25 — keep up at the back — refers to this vehicle as to be used as a 'second appliance'. In other words, as a back up to the main appliance, to deal with minor problems of the type often experienced in urban areas and for this reason it has a shorter ladder.

The station currently has a thirteen metre ladder which can access three storey buildings. The TRV ladder would not reach, but of course it's all right because Audlem's only twenty minutes away from a rescuing appliance coming from either Nantwich, Crewe, Whichurch or Drayton and what's twenty minutes? Life or death maybe or doesn't that figure large in the Service risk management scenario? A case in point was unfortunately provided by the Coffee Shop fire last year when even a ten minute delay could have resulted in disaster.

It's ironic to think that at just the moment that the Muller development (not so much seen as heard) is taking shape with three storeys served by a central stairwell and, from my reading of the original plans, no fire escape, that there would be no hope of rescue from their neighbours in the fire station. Add to that the two nursing homes and all the other three storey properties in the community and you can see why the Parish Council is very concerned at such an idea.

It's abundantly clear from the Fire Service Plan that the TRV is not an appropriate appliance for Audlem and the whole concept of placing such an appliance here is several rungs short of a ladder!

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