Ex-firefighter criticises Northants Fire over use of initial response vehicles

A retired Leicestershire fire officer has criticised Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Services response to a road accident
A retired Leicestershire fire officer has criticised Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Services response to a road accident

A retired fire officer has criticised Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service’s response to road accidents.

Wayne Harvey, who retired from the neighbouring Leicestershire service in September last year, branded Northamptonshire’s system of sending initial response vehicles (IIVs) as “abysmal”.

Two fire appliances and a specialist technical rescue vehicle attended a recent crash which Mr Harvey was caught up in, with the IIV reaching the collision first as it was the nearest.

However, Mr Harvey questioned the point of sending IIVs in the first place, saying they are “inadequate”.

He said: “I was at the scene [of the crash] and the response was abysmal.

“The response vehicle turned up with one firefighter and a spreader which was effectively powered by a hand drill.

“The kit was inadequate and frankly it was disgusting.

“It was unfair on the firefighter and he couldn’t do his job safely, which also put me and a soldier who were helping out at risk.

“It got the job done but it took so much longer than it should have done.”

Fire Brigade Union EC region member Philip Coates says the system of sending initial response vehicles is nothing more than a box-ticking exercise.

He said: “We do not agree with the IIVs because there are limits to their capabilities.

“They are a box-ticking exercise which lower response times but they should not be used to calculate them.

“There are so many health and safety issues, nobody secured the scene.

“We would love to have a fire engine on every street corner but unfortunately that is not possible.”

A Northants Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “All vehicles were mobilised to the scene at the same time, but the IIV reached the collision first, due to its close proximity.

“The single-crewed vehicle is equipped with medical equipment and rescue equipment and is designed to provide initial access and casualty care before other resources arrive on scene.

“The IIV is always deployed to incidents only as an additional resource to other crews who attend.

“All crews attended the scene of this collision within minutes of each other.”