UK: Avon Fire & Rescue has EC145 demo

UK: Avon Fire & Rescue has EC145 demo

7-Jun-2011 Source:

Avon Fire & Rescue, the emergency authority based around Bristol in South West UK, is today having a demonstration of a Eurocopter EC145.  It arrived at Bristol’s Filton Airprt yesterday using the callsign “Redfox 01”, and is a German registered example D-HTCL.

Back in December 2009, fire chief Kevin Pearson put in a request to the Fire Authority (who decide what the Service can/cannot do) for a “feasibility study to consider how air support could be used to enhance operational capabilities as well as contributing to efficiency savings”, and recommended that “the Chief Fire Officer to undertake a feasibility study on Air Support for Avon Fire & Rescue Service, and to report back on the findings in 2010″  Details of this request can be seen as document 23 in this report

Following the acceptance of this feasibility study, the Avon Fire & Rescue Service has now moved on to an actual demonstration with a Eurocopter EC145.  No other fire service in the UK currently operates a helicopter, although London, Strathclyde and Lincolnshire are known to have had demonstrations.

Avon Fire & Rescue are facing a backlash at even considering a helicopter, with loud concerns being raised by both the public and the Fire Brigades Union centring on the cost of operating a helicopter at a time when salaries are being held and redundancies being made.  Mr Pearson is adamant that the benefits of a helicopter would outweigh the costs, and for the industry’s sake we hope he is able to prove this.  Local media sources suggest that he needs to find cost savings of £2.6 million as well, although he attempted to diffuse this three months ago by voluntarily cutting his own salary by 22%.

Jeremy Parkin –

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