London Fire Brigade equipment - 12PSB Test Bench manufacturer - XDECTM ECU manufacturer

Published: 08th July 2010
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Dual-Purpose Pump Ladder

Dual-Purpose Pump Ladder

A Dual-Purpose Pump Ladder (DPL) is the standard type of firefighting vehicle used by the London Fire Brigade. There are approximately 170 in operation across the city, and are deployed to all emergency calls made to the brigade.

The standard London fire engine has 13m and/or 9m ladder extensions, eight 18m lengths of hose reel tubing, four 23m lengths of 45mm hose, ten 23m lengths of 70mm hose, cutting equipment, a portable generator, a lightweight portable pump, water-packs, inflatable air bags, road signs, floodlights, a medical kit, hose ramps, general tools, chemical suits, breathing apparatus, and more. For stations with two DPLs, one will be a 'pump' and the other a 'pump ladder', both carrying a short extension ladder and cat ladder for climbing roofs. The pump carries the 9m ladder, the pump ladder carries the 13.5m, whilst the stations with only one DPL will carry both.

DPLs weigh in at around 11.2 tonnes, and are approximately 7.7m long, 2.3m wide and 3.2m high. They carry 1,365 litres of water, and have a pumping capacity of 3,910 litres per minute.

Between 2002 and 2007 a brand new fleet of 216 Mercedes-Benz Atego vehicles were delivered to fire stations, training centres and driving schools throughout London with new TVAC/Plastisol bodywork. These were to replace the fleet of older Volvo FL6.14s with Saxon Sanbec bodywork.

All fire engines and fireboats also now carry improved first aid equipment, including defibrillators. The introduction of the improved first aid capability and training known as Immediate Emergency Care (IEC) will mean that as part of normal firefighting duties firefighters attending incidents will be even better prepared to treat casualties who need immediate medical care until paramedics can take over.

Aerial Ladder Platform / Turntable Ladder

Aerial Ladder Platform

Turntable Ladder

The LFB uses two main types of aerial appliances, the Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) and the Turntable Ladder (TL).

The fleet consists of four TLs and seven ALPs, with five more ALPs kept spare as reserves, and one used at the Brigade's training centre in Southwark.

The ALP platform can carry up to four firefighters and reach a height of 32m; a monitor in the cage can deliver up to 2400 litres of water per minute.

Fire Rescue Unit

Rescue Unit

A Fire Rescue Unit (FRU) is a special type of rescue vehicle used by the London Fire Brigade.

The FRUs are equipped with heavy lifting, winching, cutting and pulling tools, floodlighting, longer duration breathing apparatus (vital for rescuing people from tunnels deep underground) and portable generators and other specialised equipment. FRU crews are specially trained and equipped to handle complex rescues, including those from road and rail accidents, water, mud and ice, urban search and rescue incidents such as collapsed buildings, chemical spills and difficult rescues at height.

Nine of the Brigade existing fleet of Fire Rescue units were successfully mobilised to the London bombings of 7 July 2005 and since then the LFB has upped its number of FRUs from 10 (including one reserve) to 16.

Command Unit

A Fire Brigade Command Unit, or Command Support Unit, will be summoned to any incident that has more than four fire crews on scene and is a vehicle from which senior officers can control the incident, and have the latest computer and radio technology fitted to allow them to do this, including two large plasma screens (one inside, one outside) for viewing footage or CCTV of the ongoing situation with a 6m mast and generator.

There are nine (one reserve) of these vehicles placed at strategic locations across London so that one can reach any incident within 20 minutes. A fundamental advantage of specialised Command Units is to accommodate the many different types of communication equipment needed at major incidents. In addition to the wide range of radio frequencies used, the brigade often need to communicate via through landlines and mobile telephones as well as send and receive information via satellite links and CCTV.

Fire Investigation Unit

A Fire Investigation Unit (FIU) attends fires and incidents where the cause is thought to be suspicious, and is crewed by specially-trained experts, acting in assistance to police investigations.

Acton and East Ham stations each have two of these FIUs, while New Cross station has three.

In addition, New Cross is also the base of the London Fire Brigade's only Fire Investigation Dog van. This unique vehicle is manned by members of the Arson Response Team and can transport one of the brigade's four specially-trained search dogs. At the scene of incidents, a fire investigation dog wears specialist protective 'fire wellies' on his or her paws to guard against injuries from broken glass or hot material. The dogs can detect minute quantities of hydrocarbon accelerants within minutes. This procedure would normally take a human fire investigator - using specialist equipment - hours before samples can be taken away for scientific evidence.

Operational Support Unit

New Operational Support Units (OSUs) became operational in 2008, each costing 43,800.

Six of these vehicles are based at specially-designated Operational Support Stations, being Ealing, Finchley, Lee Green, Stratford, Sutton and Wandsworth. A seventh OSU is stored as a reserve. OSUs provide initial emergency attendance, taking specialist supporting equipment, such as a large quantity of breathing apparatus, to incidents.

A number of palletised and transferable loads are stored at the Operational Support Stations. These pallets can then be requested by incident commanders as required, and would be loaded on to the OSU to be taken to the fireground.

Bulk Foam Unit

A Bulk Foam Unit is a demountable pod carrying a 3,000-litre foam tank and twenty 25-litre foam cans.

The brigade may summon a Bulk Foam Unit to incidents that require a large amount of foam for firefighting operations. An example would be a plane crash or chemical fire where a major foam attack would be undertaken.

The LFB currently operates three of these vehicles citywide, which are based at Barking, Finchley and Sutton fire stations. However, three new foam vehicles are under development to provide a new method of foam concentrate delivery to incidents. The vehicles will transport a variety of fuel firefighting media and application equipment in 1,000-litre containers or on 1-tonne pallets. These are intended to be deployed individually from the transporter via a forklift truck, and transported around the fireground as required.

Hose Layer Unit

A Hose Layer Unit is a demountable pod which is mounted on a Volvo chassis.

The vehicle houses large-capacity high-pressure hose wagons and responds to incidents where hydrants or other water sources are not close enough to the fireground and firefighters are hampered by a lack of water. The vehicle will lay out its hose at the nearest hydrant or open source then drive to the fireground with the hose laying off the back.

Upon arrival it will connect to a standard appliance to supply it with the water needed for the firefighting operations.

There are four of these citywide, based at Beckenham, Romford, Southgate and Richmond stations.

Incident Response Unit

Incident Response Unit

An Incident Response Unit (IRU) is a British government-supplied decontamination vehicle that was introduced in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks as part of the New Dimension scheme for equipping UK brigades with extensive disaster response vehicles for any major catastrophe or terrorist attack.

A forklift truck is mounted on the rear of the lorry, and is used to remove the equipment cages from the curtain-side.

Equipment includes disrobe and rerobe packs for before and after casualty decontamination; 48 gastight suits; tent structures raised by hot-air blowers; decontamination showers powered by a water boiler and supplied by a submersible pump (decontaminated water is dammed); a telescopic lighting unit; mobile data transmission; GPS mapping and radiation monitoring devices.

High Volume Pump

A High-Volume Pumping Unit (HVPU) is a large fire appliance supplied by the British government to UK fire brigades, as part of the New Dimension scheme to help better-equip the fire services to respond to large-scale disasters and terrorist attacks.

It carries a submersible pump, supplying water from any open source to the fireground, a generator that pumps up to 8,000 litres a minute (twice as much as a typical standard fire engine), a hose box module, and ancillary equipment.

London currently has nine of these HVPUs.

Outside of London, these vehicles proved invaluable in response to the UK floods in 2007.

Urban Search and Rescue

As part of the British government's New Dimension scheme following the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks on US cities a range of specialised fire and rescue vehicles were supplied to fire brigades around the UK.

These include the Incident Response Unit, High Volume Pumping Units, and a range of other Urban Search & Rescue vehicles.

The first USAR "module" is primarily for building collapse rescue. It is a heavy-rescue truck carrying apparatus to gain access to and explore voids/spaces after a structural collapse, as well as binoculars, digital cameras, core drills, electrical tools, angle grinders, search cameras, communications equipment, life detectors, timber cutters, and lighting.

Another type of USAR module is a truck carrying a black Bobcat multi-purpose vehicle for removing debris from a disaster site and disposing of this onto the truck. As well it carries a large inflatable tent for sheltering equipment.

Finally, a flatbed lorry carrying ten tonnes of C16-grade timber can used to support unstable structures that may collapse.

Scientific Support Unit

Scientific Support Units (SSUs) are specialised vehicles carrying a vast amount of chemical monitoring equipment.

Purchased in late 2005 following the 7 July suicide bombings, an SSU can attend a wide range of incidents, including chemical spills and fires, where early on-site scientific analysis and monitoring will speed up the detection process and allow the Brigade and other emergency services to provide the correct response for the particular incident.

Until their arrival, the brigade had not been able to adequately undertake enhanced scientific analysis for chemical, biological and radiological testing at the scene. These durable and future-proof vehicles are fully upgraded to respond to a range of incidents including those where forensic fire investigators request the use of a mobile facility to enhance both public and firefighter safety.

The only two of these vehicles in the brigade are stationed at Poplar and Hammersmith.


London's two Fireboats are called Fireflash and Firedart, both based at the Lambeth River station. Firedart is used in daily operation, while Fireflash is reserved for training exercises and a spare.

They are used for a variety of incidents, such as people stranded in the River Thames, fires on boats, crashed boats, and riverside property on fire.


^ Press release about Immediate Emergency Care

^ Official press release about the fire investigation dog unit

^ Press release regarding the Scientific Support Units

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