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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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New all-terrain rescue vehicle at Cumbria fire HQ

An all-terrain rescue vehicle is to be based at Cumbria’s new fire headquarters in Penrith to improve its ability to respond to emergencies, particularly in bad weather.

Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service and the Bay Search and Rescue – which covers Morecambe Bay – have teamed up to base the tracked Hagglund BV206 vehicle at the HQ.

The Hagglund can transport up to 18 people or six with two tonnes of equipment to carry out rescues in different weather conditions and on surfaces such as ice, mud, snow, sand and water.

Originally designed for military service in the frozen wastes of Scandanavia, the Hagglund is now widely used for civilian rescues.

Bay Search and Rescue already has rescue vehicles based at Flookburgh, Levens and Milnthorpe in south Lakeland, as well as Bolton-le-Sands in Lancashire. The new vehicle will offer options for flood and cold weather rescues in and around the north Lakes and Eden Valley.

Councillor Gary Strong, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “The Eden area often bears the worst of the weather when snow and freezing temperatures hit Cumbria, so having the Hagglund at our new headquarters in Penrith provides good access for the vehicle to get to the Lakes and the higher ground in the Eden Valley.”

Paul Calland, from Bay Search and Rescue, said: “We are very proud to be recognised by the professionals in Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and delighted to be able to provide our newest Hagglund and experienced drivers to support their crews.

“We have worked with the fire service since 2009 when we operated our Hagglund in the Cockermouth floods. It makes good sense for this one to be based near enough to be effective along the A66 area during the winter snows rather than over an hour and half away at our coastal rescue station which is where it would be deployed from without this joint working arrangement.”

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