The first of two brand new state-of-the-art, multi-million-pound training centres for London’s firefighters has been officially opened by Mayor Boris Johnson.
The Emergency Services Training Centre at Beckton, and a second venue due to open later this year at Park Royal, mark the biggest modernisation of firefighter training in the capital for over a century.
Mayor Boris Johnson, Commissioner Ron Dobson, Chairman for the LFEPA James Cleverly accompanied by Director of Fire and Rescue Training, Steve Smith, Operational Training Manager, Mark Hynes and Trainer Ada Dutson all got geared up and went into the fire house at the venue opening Monday (9 June).
After experiencing real life conditions faced by firefighters including flashovers and fire behavior, Mayor Johnson said: "This gold standard facility will help London Fire Brigade to deliver a world class service to Londoners. It is part of a multi-million pound modernisation programme to ensure the service and its staff are equipped with the very best kit to respond to the challenges of a growing 21st century city.”
At 3,200 square metres, the indoor, 24 hour, all-weather Beckton site in East London houses centres of excellence for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Incident Command training, a ‘firehouse’ for real fire training and classroom facilities.
'Best fire and rescue service in the world'
These world class, environmentally-friendly venues, are provided by London Fire Brigade’s training partner Babcock and replace the Brigade’s Southwark Training Centre which has been training firefighters since 1878 and no-longer fulfils the requirements of a modern fire and rescue service.
Further reading: Babcock are sponsoring our blue-ribbon Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming EFE Awards 2014 - click here to find out how you can enter
Commissioner Dobson added: "I believe that London Fire Brigade is the best fire and rescue service in the world and we now have first class training facilities to match.
"The centres of excellence provided by Babcock radically improve the quality of facilities that are available to us, providing our firefighters and support staff with state-of-the-art, realistic, safe learning environments to hone their skills across the wide-range of disciplines that are required by the modern fire and rescue service."
Other facilities at the venue include a USAR rig, which includes mock-ups of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings, a crane and jib and areas for hot cutting, line rescue and chain saw operations provide firefighters with a realistic training environment to practice rescue skills used in major incidents involving buildings and transport.
'Committed to providing world class training'
The zero emission firehouse is carbon neutral and allows crews to train in a wide variety of different real fire conditions, while the Incident Command training suite uses floor to ceiling screens and simulation gaming-style interactive software to test incident command and decision making skills in a range of different scenarios.
Gordon Reynolds, Babcock Director of Training, concluded: "Babcock is proud to be working in partnership with the London Fire Brigade. We have used expertise from across Babcock, the London Fire Brigade and internationally to develop facilities which are in line with the immediate training needs of the Brigade and flexible enough to accommodate future training requirements including multi-agency training.
"Most importantly we are committed to providing world class training to support the Brigade in keeping London safe."
FIRE is delighted to work in association with Babcock to present the inaugural Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards 2014 - click here to find out click here to find out how you can join our lead supporters in sponsoring one of the inaugural EFE Award categories.