Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has invested in two new Hagglund vehicles to help the service respond to wildfires and flooding.
The all-terrain vehicles have been purchased following the launch of the service’s new Climate Change Operational Response Plan which identified the increasing impacts and consequences of climate change, in terms of both prevalence and duration of large-scale flooding and wildfire events.
The Hagglund vehicles are rubber tracked off-road vehicles which will enhance the service’s existing wildfire and flood rescue response capability in remote areas of the county.
Chief Fire Officer Justin Johnston said: “Climate change is having significant impact on homes, businesses and environments in Lancashire, and the risk of flooding and wildfires is increasing.
“These Hagglund vehicles will help us respond quicker to fires and flooding incidents that occur in difficult to access locations. They will also help our firefighters who can spend several hours at a time working in hot and strenuous conditions.”
During the large wildfire on Winter Hill in 2018, the service was able to use a Hagglund vehicle that belonged to an independent, charitable rescue and recovery team. At the incident, these vehicles showed their worth as they have low ground pressure despite their size and can cross soft ground with relative ease.
Additionally, their self-righting and flood wading capability provides protection, ensuring the machine can continue to its destination, whilst accessing locations that would require a water-borne craft.
Justin added: “Every firefighter in the service has a bespoke flood suit and we are adding specialist personal protective equipment for fighting wildfires this year, making Lancashire the first fire and rescue service in the UK to have wildfire kit for all frontline responders.
“Together with our recently introduced wildfire burn team, we’re better equipped to protect properties and areas at risk, and reduce the impact of wildfires. This investment reflects our commitment to further understanding and mitigating climate change emergencies in the county.”
Play your part in preventing wildfires and looking after Lancashire if you’re out enjoying the countryside, parks or beaches:
- Pack a picnic. Never use disposable barbecues in Lancashire’s open spaces.
- Campfires can easily get out of control and spread. If not extinguished properly they can smoulder for hours. Pack a picnic instead.
- Take your litter home with you, especially glass bottles which can concentrate the sun’s rays and start a fire.
- Avoid smoking in the countryside and never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.