Emergency Response

Firefighting and Rescue

The Service deals with fire, road and rail accidents, chemical hazards and many other situations where its expertise and equipment can be used to save lives, reduce suffering or protect property and the environment.

The vehicles and equipment represent the latest in technology and offer a diverse range of facilities to deal with any emergency.

The West Midlands Fire Service operates a variety of emergency and ancillary vehicles and support units in order to provide an effective service.  Further information can be found below:

  • Fire Engines
  • Hydraulic Platform
  • Pump Rescue Water Tower
  • Command Support Vehicles
  • Specialist Units/Equipment
  • Breathing Apparatus Main Control
  • Foam Distribution Unit
  • Environment Unit
  • Incident Support Unit
  • Major Rescue Unit
  • New Dimension

Fire Engines
The West Midlands Fire Service operates over 60 front-line fire engines, which cost approximately £190,000 each and remain operational for thirteen years. 

Fire Engine Attending an Incident

Fire engines are designed to give firefighters the capability to immediately deal with a variety of emergency situations. These vehicles carry a wide variety of equipment including a range of ladders, breathing apparatus, cutting and lifting gear and a range of other equipment.

Each fire engine carries a crew of 4 or 5 firefighters and is equipped with the latest radio and computer aided equipment, providing the vital communication link between operational crews and Fire Control.

Hydraulic Platform
These can reach up to a height of 29 metres, and require a crew of two specially trained firefighters. Costing over £450,000 and operational for up to 15 years, these vehicles are used to provide rescue facility and high volume water on fire from a height.

Pump Rescue Water Tower
There is one of these based at Ward End and represents a new concept in Fire fighting vehicles. It is capable of performing the combined roles of the Fire Engine and the Hydraulic Platform.

Command Support Vehicle

Command Support Vehicles
There are 3 Command Support Vehicles (CSV) based at Handsworth, Solihull and Tipton that act as a central control point at incidents. There are 6 specially trained crews who are mobilised to staff the CSV, this is necessary due to the hi tech nature of the equipment contained within the CSV.

New Dimension
The New Dimension Programme has provided West Midlands Fire Service with Incident Response Units, Mass Decontamination Resilience Modules, High Volume Pumping Unit, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and a Detection Identification & Monitoring (DIM) capability all of which enhance our ability to respond to major emergencies such as terrorist attacks, industrial and domestic accidents and natural disasters.

Specialist Units/Equipment

The West Midlands Fire Service operates a variety of incident Units to deal with any emergency situation. These Units are transported on the back of a Prime Mover, which allows them to be effectively picked up and transported to the incident scene. Units are strategically placed around the Brigade area, and consist of:;

  • Breathing Apparatus Main Control - This allows for central co-ordination of the firefighters wearing Breathing Apparatus at a major incident, in a safe and controlled environment. It not only provides logistical support, but also facilities to maintain and service Breathing Apparatus equipment.
  • Foam Distribution Unit - This unit carries bulk foam concentrates to the fireground when an incident requires its use to curtail the fire. In addition to foam it carries full support equipment.
  • Environment Unit - This unit carries a full range of equipment to restrict pollution at incidents, and supports the Brigade's objective to control environmental pollution and protect our natural environment.
  • Incident Support Unit - Another unit which carries equipment for major incidents, specifically to support the crews. Items include lighting for night-time incidents, barriers and pumping equipment for floods.
  • Hazardous Substances Unit - This unit specifically carries equipment and personal firefighting protective wear, for use at incidents where chemicals or gases have been spilt.
  • Major Rescue Unit - This unit carries heavy duty rescue equipment, such as cutting and lifting equipment, used at large scale incidents. These include motorway accidents, incidents including heavy goods or plant equipment, and airplane or train accidents. Equipment is used by specially trained firefighters.

Incident Support Imaging System

Our Incident Support Imaging System (ISiS) is a 4-rotor VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). It can be fitted with either a digital video, high resolution stills or a state of the art thermal image camera. The live images are beamed directly to a laptop sized base station and also on scene to any of the 3 command support vehicles. It also has GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) capability, which means that once a suitable observation platform has been reached it can hover in the same location.