We currently provide technical rescue capabilities from two of our fire stations – Leigh in Wigan and Ashton in Tameside. The Technical Response Units (TRUs) based at these stations respond to complex and sometimes unusual emergencies, including intricate road traffic collisions, water rescues, entrapment, rescues from height, collapsed buildings, trench rescues and more. Each of these stations also has an ordinary fire engine that is crewed separately to the TRU.
The current staffing model has its limitations that can, at times, reduce the availability of staff with the required skills to support an enhanced rescue response. We therefore propose to introduce a new operating model and staffing structure for this capability and create Enhanced Rescue Stations in Greater Manchester.
Our plan involves extending the capability and skillsets across all staff on these stations, increasing the resilience and flexibility of the staffing model, investing in training, equipment and PPE, which will support the retention and attraction of staff.
Each Enhanced Rescue Station would have two fire engines and 44 firefighters in total (compared with the current 56 at each station) who are able to provide both a firefighting and enhanced rescue response at any time. While this is an overall reduction in staff from 112 to 88 across both stations, the new model means that more staff will be trained and equipped to deal with complex rescue incidents. By having more firefighters who are trained for all types of response, their skills can be used more flexibly. The new model provides 16 enhanced rescue trained staff on every shift across four appliances, an increase of six from the current 10, to support protracted incidents within Greater Manchester and national resilience deployments.
Crews at these stations would operate a self-sufficient crewing model, managing any crewing shortfalls locally – and for this they would receive a 3% uplift in pay. This system provides greater resilience by guaranteeing the availability of an enhanced rescue capability at all times. It also creates development opportunities and more clearly defined leadership, with on duty crews having one Watch Manager covering the overall response, rather than separate managers covering the firefighting response and TRU as at present.
Overall, this would allow an increased enhanced response and greater resilience with a cost saving of around £1.179 million to be reinvested in other areas of the service.