Sutton Coldfield’s fire station is to become the base for a team of specialist firefighters, enhancing West Midlands Fire Service’s (WMFS) technical rescue capability.
From May 2022, the Lichfield Road station will operate as WMFS’s third Technical Rescue Unit (TRU), alongside Wednesbury and Bickenhill.
A fire engine will remain based at the station, ready to respond 24/7 to urgent, life-threatening incidents within our five-minute response standard.
But the crews will also be specially trained and equipped to respond to a wide range of more specialist incidents, including flooding, building collapses and rope rescues.
The move is part of WMFS’s commitment to making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier. In late 2020, 11,000 people shared their views in a public consultation about our work. More than 90 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that we should continue to adopt a flexible approach to managing our resources.
Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service, said: “We’re extremely proud that our 999 emergency response services are graded as ‘outstanding’ by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
“However, we’re always looking to improve and to provide the best possible services to our communities across the West Midlands, making them safer, stronger and healthier.
“We take an evidence-based approach to our planning, applying our professional knowledge and understanding of risk. As the risks we face here in the West Midlands and further afield evolve, so must we.
“Our Community Risk Management Plan for the next three years has led to a number of forward-looking projects, including this exciting development for Sutton’s fire station.
“From climate-related flooding, through to the national terrorism threat and the staging of significant events such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we need to be ready to respond assertively, effectively and safely when people need us.”
TRU firefighters based at Sutton will still respond to incidents which pose a risk to life, including fires in homes and road traffic collisions. In addition, they will be trained and equipped for:
• rope rescues
• water rescues and boat response
• building collapses and shoring of dangerous structures
• incidents involving large vehicles, such as HGVs and trains
• large animal rescues
• technical/wide area searches
• lifting and moving, eg rescuing people from beneath heavy objects
• working in confined spaces
• responding with other agencies to terrorism incidents.
Members of Sutton TRU will also continue to provide WMFS’s ‘protection’ activities, which include regular inspections of high-risk premises. And fire safety officers will still operate from the station.
Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “This is an exciting development for Sutton Coldfield fire station. We’re determined to keep West Midlands Fire Service’s ‘outstanding’ rating for its response work and to keep one step ahead of our communities’ needs.
“Community engagement and prevention activities will continue around Sutton, including the service’s Safe and Well visits to people’s homes and partnerships with schools.
“Sutton will continue to be a community fire station, hosting community events and our ever-popular open days.”