Fire Services On St Mary’s Could Bid For Joint Vehicle

airport fire tender yellowThe islands’ next new fire engine could be shared between the two fire services on St Mary’s if bid for new government funding gets the go-ahead.

Chief Fire Officer Steve Webster said Westminster is making available £75million to the service across the country to fund capital projects.

Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and the emphasis will be on encouraging collaboration and creating efficiencies.

Steve says there are limited opportunities for Scilly to join with other areas on projects.

But he says the two separate fire services on Scilly, one serving the community on St Mary’s and the other based at the airport, could save money through shared equipment, servicing and staff training.

He wants to bid for a new spare fire appliance to replace the 25-year-old red fire engine at the airport

It would cost around £200,000 and be designed from scratch to be used by either service.

Steve says the current unit is expensive to keep running and that’s likely to increase in the future.

Sharing the new vehicle would reduce maintenance costs and allow one spare engine to cover both services “without costing us a penny.”

Steve says there have been discussions about having a single fire service on St Mary’s but he says it needs to be this way because of time and cost constraints.

He’s says they simply can’t put them into the same pot.

One of the issues cited is that if there was a major fire elsewhere on St Mary’s, having a single fire service would mean the airport would have to close, possibly for hours, while it was tackled.

Chair of the General Purposes Committee Steve Sims agreed, saying it’s an “absolute no brainer” even though he said some islanders take issue with that.