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More woe for specialist fire service vehicle

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

By nino williams

The ARP cost about £450,000 five years ago.

The ARP cost about £450,000 five years ago.

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A FIRE service vehicle which has been plagued with problems since it was bought has been out of action once more, forcing fire chiefs to arrange contingency cover.

Problems with the 23-tonne Aerial Rescue Pump (ARP), based in Sketty, have meant it has been off the road for the past few days, although it was due to be brought back into action last night.

The vehicle has a high-reaching ladder to access buildings up to eight storeys tall, and the nearest vehicles with similar capabilities are based as far away as Haverfordwest and Bridgend.

The ARP was bought by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MWWFRS) in 2007 at a cost of around £450,000 but has been plagued by problems.

A MWWFRS spokesman said: "The ARP has been off the run, but contingency arrangements were in place for strategic fire cover."

The ARP did not go into full service for more than a year after it was bought because of "technical difficulties".

It was sent back to manufacturers in Finland for further repairs, but it developed another fault after it was repaired.

Because the vehicle had been out of action for so long, concerned firefighters requested retraining so they could safely use the vehicle.

Clydach councillor and former firefighter Gordon Walker claimed: "The brigade were warned not to buy this vehicle."

The development with the ARP comes less than a week after Mid and West Fire and Rescue Service admitted it had withdrawn controversial fire service vehicles following an incident in which one was said to have failed.

Senior officers confirmed it had temporarily withdrawn some of its 17 Rural Response Pumps, which were the subject of a safety warning from Fire Brigades Union officers when they were first introduced earlier this year.

The service said the vehicles were intended to provide cover in rural areas. But the FBU claimed they had been used to replace standard engines at some stations, and issued a Safety Critical Notice when they were introduced, because they claimed the vehicles were not fit for purpose.

The RRPs, which are adapted Mercedes Sprinter vans, were rejected by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service as unsuitable.

The MWWFRS declined to comment on whether they had consulted with other fire services before buying the vehicles.

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  • PhoenixPlease  |  December 03 2012, 7:38AM

    Test Case.....agree, in simple terms....the Emperors New Clothes..

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  • test_case  |  December 02 2012, 10:43PM

    It's not about regular servicing as Frankdoberman is used to running. This is about an emergency high rise access fire engine not being ready when its needed. Their motto used to be 'There when you need us' not anymore it isn't. Aerial Rescue Pumps, Sprinter vans, trouble with staffing, station cutbacks, union disputes, small fire vehicles that can't extinguish small fires, what is going on?

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  • Taweformation  |  December 01 2012, 5:29PM

    Frankdoberman, You think that all comments on here are stupid! reading past posts by you would suggest that. This is a forum whereby we all get to make comments on the articles in this paper. As i said before if you dont like the comments being made may i suggest you stay off this page? all of the comments here are valid and are in no way Stupid. the stupidity is the managers in he service!!

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  • PhoenixPlease  |  December 01 2012, 1:19AM

    Frank Doberman is totally out of touch. He may run a fleet of vehicles, but buses, taxis or lorries whatever he manages are not specialist fire vehicles. Reading the comments and researching past stories it seems the Fire Service Managers are making mistake after mistake. I agree with Frank probably married to Blodwyn, that vehicles need maintenance. But when you spend nearly 1/2 a million on a engine that continually breaks down, then buy 17 van fire engines that every other fire service refuses to use , it's not a question of maintenance but choice. If Frank is so proficient at running a fleet perhaps he can apply to solve the fire service problem by explaining how to manage the fleet.....or as he already been paid to do so and is covering his tracks. Sorry got to go, looking for maggots to go fishing, good Bate apparently.

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  • BADBOI  |  November 30 2012, 8:08PM

    I think my comments are good questions which no one has yet answered in no way do i think they are stupid???

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  • FrankDoberman  |  November 30 2012, 2:52PM

    Not being aggressive. Just pointing out facts about managing a large fleet of vehicles which I happen to do for a job. I was also pointing out that in my opinion, the comments posted so far are stupid. Nothing wrong with that is there?

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  • Taweformation  |  November 30 2012, 9:08AM

    The_truth. I think you may be right about Mr Doberman. He seams very aggresive and protective of the Fire service. could he be a middle management mole?? He is right about services of appliances. But that would be planned preventative maintenance. not Unplanned Failures in appliances thats not cost effective. Hardly a basis to run stations and protect property and lives. Mr Doberman "CALM Down"

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  • The_truth  |  November 29 2012, 10:51PM

    Frankdoberman....... More like one of mr bates pooches me thinks ;-)!!!! Hope it's not a maggot...

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  • FrankDoberman  |  November 29 2012, 8:49PM

    What a load of stupid comments. When you run a fleet of hundreds of vehicles it is a fact that they need servicing and they sometimes need repairing. They don't stay operational all the time.

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  • newsaffair  |  November 29 2012, 3:58PM

    Hardly a day goes by without another damming news item about this Fire brigade,If they would only get in touch with the Ferret,he seems to be able to remedy all sorts of problems. At £450,000,the sooner the better!!

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