Partnership provides welfare for fire service staff

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue has teamed up with Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue (CamSAR) to introduce a new welfare unit for staff to use in the event of long-running incidents.

The new mobile welfare unit offers washroom facilities for firefighters when they are committed to incidents for long periods of time. It can be transported around the county in response to demand, thanks to support from CamSAR.

The collaboration will see CamSAR’s dedicated on-call volunteers utilise their 4x4 capability to bring the mobile welfare unit to the scene of an incident, leaving firefighters free for critical tasks. Similarly, CamSAR will have the use of the unit for extended search operations, which are often based in remote locations.

The welfare unit is the first of its kind for CFRS, which had previously relied on external agencies to provide the services.

Group Commander Simon Newton said: “This collaboration with CamSAR is the result of a great deal of work from both organisations and I am really pleased to finally be in a position for us to work more closely together.

“The use of voluntary organisation such as CamSAR to support the delivery of operational response makes good sense in a number of ways. It improves our resilience, is cost effective, builds collaborative networks and ultimately improves the service we deliver.

“We will continue to identify areas for collaboration and look forward to realising the benefits this can offer.”

Jonathan Harwood, Chairman of CamSAR added: "We have worked together with CFRS for the last eight years. We already use some fire stations for training purposes, which has been a fantastic opportunity for us.

“Being able to offer our 4x4 capability to tow the new mobile welfare unit is one of the ways we can say thank you to CFRS for all the support they have given us over the last few years.

“We are hopeful that this will be the start of a long term relationship of collaboration and look forward to working with CFRS closer in the future.”