GMFRS to invest millions in fire stations and training facilities

GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) stations and training facilities are set to undergo huge refurbishments to ensure they are fit for the future for firefighters and the public.

As part of its four-year Fire Plan launched earlier this year, the Service is investing millions in a long-term programme of improvements to update operational facilities for staff and the public and reduce GMFRS’ carbon footprint.

The programme is expected to take place in four phases, each taking four years, and comes after £38m was awarded by Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for the first phase of the programme, which kickstarted at the end of September 2021 at GMFRS’ Training and Safety Centre in Bury.

Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, said: “The journey to ensure Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service becomes a modern, progressive and effective public service for the people of Greater Manchester, ready and able to meet the changing risks in our city-region, means we must seek to improve continuously what we do and how we do it. 

“This programme of improvements across many of GMFRS’ community fire stations and facilities is vital and an essential investment in our city-region’s fire and rescue service, its staff members, and our communities. It will also contribute to our Greater Manchester ambition of becoming carbon neutral and maximise the potential of our blue-light and other public services to work collaboratively to support local neighbourhoods.” 

Work is now underway at the operational training side of GMFRS’ Training and Safety Centre in Bury, with H.H. Smith and Sons Ltd carrying out preparation work ahead of installing new welfare facilities.

GMFRS’ Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel, said: “The £38 million investment approved by the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester represents a major boost in support for our Service in delivering our Fire Plan. It will enable us to focus on our strategic priorities which include investing in our facilities and ensuring they are fit for purpose for years to come.

“I’m really proud that over the coming four years we will see significant improvements across our sites, including the development of a new Incident Command and Leadership Academy at our Training and Safety Centre in Bury, and new community fire stations being built in Blackley, Whitehill, Heywood and Whitefield.

“In addition, several of our other stations will receive refurbishments and upgrades to improve facilities. All of the planned work will have a heavy focus on reducing the carbon footprint of our estate to support Greater Manchester’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.” 

The next phase of work at GMFRS’ Training and Safety Centre will see a full refurbishment of a building on the site, transforming it into a new Incident Command and Leadership Academy. The tender process for this phase of work closed on September 16, 2021, and GMFRS has awarded the contract to winning bidder, PLP Construction Limited.

Once complete, the refurbishments in Bury will provide the Service with fully immersive, state-of-the-art facilities to deliver operational and incident command training and development to GMFRS’ fire crews and partners, maintaining the highest standard of competence in the workplace and improving firefighter safety at emergency incidents.

There will also be an increase in office accommodation for GMFRS’ staff members at the site, with more classrooms which will be sufficient to deliver theoretical training and provide further opportunities for partnership work.

GMFRS’ Corporate Support Director, Andrea Heffernan, who is leading the estates improvements programme, said: “I am delighted that as part of GMFRS’ long-term overhaul of its buildings and facilities that refurbishments at our Training and Safety Centre in Bury are underway. The centre will now transform into an Incident Command and Leadership Academy and become one of the best places in the UK to train and develop.

“By investing in our Training and Safety Centre we are investing in the future of our staff, Greater Manchester and its residents, while striving to become a modern, environmentally friendly, flexible and resilient fire and rescue service.

“Other improvement work in GMFRS’ pipeline includes a refurbishment and extension of Littleborough Community Fire Station and investment in carbon reduction technology at a number of our community fire stations, including Horwich, Stretford, Rochdale, Wigan, Bury and Ashton.”

Elements of planned carbon reduction work at some of GMFRS’ sites, such as the installation of LED lighting, solar PV (photovoltaic) and battery storage, will be covered thanks to funding secured from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

10/11/2021 12:43 PM