Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
146 Bolton Road
Tel: 0161 736 5866
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At GMFRS we subscribe to our own externally accredited ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). This helps us to manage the environmental impacts of all our own sites and the activities we carry out at incidents, in particular the emission of pollution to land, air or water. Each year we have to be able to prove to auditors that we have processes in place to deal with these impacts for example by proving how we would deal with emergency situations like hazardous liquid spills at one of our stations. We have maintained accreditation to this standard since 2009.
As part of the service we deliver we frequently attend incidents that have resulted in environmental damage. To deal with these events we have Environmental Protection Units, specialist vehicles for the response of large scale environmental incidents for example the overturning of an oil tanker. As education and training of our fire fighters has grown in this area, the response rate to matters of environmental pollution have increased dramatically with the EPU’s turning out more in the last three months of 2015 than in the whole three years preceding that.
We are using new methods to extinguish or control fires that will reduce impact on the environment. One example includes controlled burn. In certain circumstances it is less environmentally damaging to allow an already condemned building to burn out rather than to try to extinguish the fire with water of foam, both of which generate highly polluting run-off. Techniques like controlled burn can only be used in very specific conditions but will become more developed and well utilised over time, further supporting our goal to minimise pollution.