Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) have taken another important step towards their new multi-pump Fire & Rescue Station, state of the art Training Academy, and National Resilience Centre of Excellence in the heart of the community.
A special bolt tightening ceremony was held in March to celebrate the start of construction at the new 12-acre site on Long Lane, Aintree.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Phil Garrigan, Chair of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority Les Byrom, and Group Manager and MFRS project lead Dave Watson, marked the key milestone in the build process, alongside construction partners Wates Group.
The bolt tightening represents the start of construction on the new facility as the keystone of the Authority’s vision to be the best fire & rescue service in the UK, and for the people of Merseyside, with response times reduced significantly across the area.
CFO Phil Garrigan said: “We are incredibly proud to mark this key milestone in the build process and celebrate the start of construction work on the site of our new Training and Development Academy and National Resilience Centre of Excellence.
“So many colleagues from across Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have been involved up to this point as part of the largest infrastructure project we have ever undertaken.
“This exciting and forward-thinking project represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, and once completed, it will ensure we have highly skilled and trained people who plan for identified risks, while keeping our teams safe and effective.
“A critically important area of work for the emergency services is the constantly changing urban landscape that presents emerging risks, which we must train for.
“This is in addition to the potential risks posed by marine incidents, wildfires, flooding, large waste fires and terrorist related incidents. Merseyside presents a range of further challenges, with an extensive coastline, shipping and docks, an airport, busy road and rail networks, tunnels and heritage sites.
“This new facility will give the firefighters of Merseyside an opportunity to train in realistic and immersive environments to ensure they are ready for any challenge.”
The development will improve operational response times and enable MFRS to plan effectively and efficiently against foreseeable risk and emerging threats, providing outstanding facilities for a diverse range of operational and support staff to develop and maintain their skills.
As well as house staff from the National Resilience Assurance Team (NRAT), International Search and Rescue team (ISAR) and secondary Fire Control, embedding National Resilience into the DNA of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
The build, situated in the heart of the community on a 12-acre site on Long Lane, Aintree, will be completed by mid-2024 by Wates Construction, who were awarded the contract having produced first-class fire stations at Prescot and most recently St. Helens.
The progressive vision for the facility will include immersive, realistic training zones that can be adapted to train for any foreseeable risk including high-rise, marine, flooding, motorway and train incidents. The site will also include a 4-bay fire station offering 24-hour emergency response to the surrounding area and a National Resilience Centre of Excellence at the heart of the facility.
The multifunctional site will enable MFRS to implement a multitude of incident scenarios at the same time, exponentially improving the Service’s ability to train against foreseeable risk and emerging threats in conditions as close to real incidents as possible.
Dave Saville, Regional Managing Director for Construction North at Wates, said: “This is our fifth project with MFRS and our largest to date.
“Through our work, we’ve seen how much of a positive impact these new builds have on the people that work in them and the communities they serve. As well as providing state-of-the art training facilities, for firefighters present and future, our teams are working with Social Enterprises and providing educational and training opportunities in construction for local people.
“This milestone celebrates the excellent partnership between Wates, MFRS and our supply chain partners and we’re all looking forward to delivering the next stage of this key build.”
Through the commencement of these exciting and forward-thinking plans, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service continues to deliver improvements to frontline services, cementing the ambition to be the best Fire & Rescue Service in the country, whilst ensuring the safety of firefighters and the public.