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Starting a new RDS Station from Scratch


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In and around where I live there are a number of villages that have slowly become towns over the years. When you look at the fire cover they need, they could easily justify their own RDS station.

That topic aside, it got me thinking. In terms of skills and competency, how do you establish an RDS station? Its not like you could easily move in an RDS WM or competent FF's overnight. Most, if not all stations I know of go back to day dot... I'd be interested if there were any recent cases across the country and how it was done .

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Depends on alot of things. Is there any industry/decent size employers or does the town empty during the day? Are there many incidents in the town or surrounding area? What are the attendance times for the nearest pump? ( presuming its also RDS ) do the demographics of the town require fire cover? Could a truck feasibly be kept on the run? If close to another services border is there an agreement on mutual aid? ( theres a town on my rds stations patch that on its own would probably warrant an RDS station, however its next door to another service who always beat our trucks there )

A fair few fire services have started making the second pump at historically WT stations retained. I think its been done a fair bit in Lancs/Cumbria. Off the top of my head i think that last brand new RDS station is Alsager in Cheshire which opened 2016. @TandA  will be best placed to answer this as Ongar went from WT to Day Crewed to Retained but that was a while ago. In short its a long drawn out process and in no way cheap

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Some basic figures we were told by our financial bods when looking at on call, to keep an on call station on the  run with 4 riders  available at all times costs around £750,000 (taking into account pensions 'PPE etc)

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I believe Cornwall did this a few years ago, for a period of time the new station attended incidents the other local stations did but in a learning mode before been allowed to go on their own.  I forget which station it was but I know others have been done around the UK where say a WM has been temporarily based at the new station along with other crew to help get the new RDS crew up to speed etc as well as as all basic training etc.

I know a number of Brigades have created a retained on wholetime station so there was shadowing done here.

The best one I can think about was the Cornwall one, think it was Hayle as I'm sure it was a tri-service hub.

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With regard to Ongar in Essex, mentioned above, it was originally RDS in the 60s / 70s then was upgraded to WT until about 2008 then downgraded to RDS again.  The RDS crew was put together in a variety of ways.  Essex offered relocation incentives to existing RDS with junior officer qualifications and that got a Watch Manager and a Crew Manager to move into the town.  From memory, they also recruited one or two WT LFB to ride RDS but most of the crew was recruited and trained from scratch over a period of a year or so.  It wasn’t easy.

Funnily enough, I have access to the records from the early 50s when my station was started from scratch by Essex Fire Brigade as it was then. The process timescale was very similar.  It took nine months of weekly then twice and thrice weekly training sessions to train up a crew from scratch.

@Becile - not sure those figures are right.  Full establishment at my single pump station would cost somewhat less than £120k in wages (scaling up my admittedly under established budget from last year and allowing some leeway).  Even doubling that for PPE, pension and station running costs, the costs would be south of a third of your quote.

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