Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
146 Bolton Road
Tel: 0161 736 5866
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As a fire service we are always going to need to use water. However, we want to make sure we never knowingly use more than we need and have started to look at how much we use so that we can start to reduce it. We installed water metering devices on some of our fire engines and recorded how much water we use over 6 months. We found that only 10% of incidents we attend use more than 1000 litres of water but fire engines carry 1800 litres! Knowing this has helped us to design our new Community Risk Vehicles (CRVs) which will attend smaller incidents. These vehicles will have a 500 litre tank and their lighter weight will also mean they use less fuel and emit less carbon.
As well as considering the amount of water we use in our vehicles we also looked at the amount of water we use to put out a fire by measuring this at an incident. At a large fire at a waste depot that burned solidly for three weeks we measured all the water we used, a grand total of 110,000,000 litres of water which would cost £250,000 in a water bill. A good reason to look for any ways to reduce our water use. At this incident Fire Fighters pioneered new techniques to capture and re-pump run off fire water back onto the fire and this technique has since been incorporated into the Fire & Rescue Service Environmental Protection Handbook.