Fire stations of the world: Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s new Crowthorne Community Fire Station, UK
The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Crowthorne Community Fire Station opened on Tuesday, 5 May 2020 with a modern look. The brand new modern fire station has been built after a lengthy renovation project and has become Royal Berkshire's second tri-service community fire station, offering as a shared location for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service. Fire fighters will now benefit from a number of improved facilities for training and welfare, as well as an improved fire station layout. Various energy efficient features have also been installed, such as roof mounted solar panels and plans for electric vehicle charging points, which will reduce the environmental footprint in the community. Situated at High Street, Crowthorne in Berkshire, Crowthorne Fire Station is an on-call (retained) fire station. It has always been crewed by local people. The station is positioned next to Swinley Forest and its fire fighters responded to the forest fires of 2011. Many of the station’s callouts today are to undergrowth fires in the woodland surrounding Crowthorne. Crowthorne Fire Station has one fire appliance for emergency calls and another for the Young Firefighters programme.
Berkshire and Reading Fire Brigade was formed in 1948 and was later renamed in 1974 to Royal Berkshire Fire Brigade. The organisation was established following centuries of evolution in fire fighting strategy across the UK and renamed Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service in 1985. The fire service was then removed from local authority control in 1998 and was placed under the direction of an independent Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, which is made up of representatives from the county’s six unitary authorities.
The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service provides prevention, protection and response services across the county of Berkshire from 18 fire stations. Twelve wholetime and six on-call fire stations cover 486 square miles, from Langley in the East to Lambourn in the West. It serves a diverse cultural population of 911 400, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Fire stations are crewed by a mix of wholetime (full-time) and on-call (retained) fire fighters dependent on the risk determined for each area. Fire stations are crewed by a rotating watch duty system of operational personnel, where these watches work the following:
The role of RBFRS within local communities is evolving. A wide range of services help keep communities safe, including safety and protection advice to residents and businesses, as well as enforcing fire safety legislation and reducing fire risk in the built environment. This is in addition to highly skilled crews providing a swift and effective response to incidents ranging from road, rail, aviation and waterway accidents, to fuel and chemical spills, collapsed buildings, large animal rescues and, of course, fires.
Launch of the new fire station
The rebuild of Crowthorne Community Fire Station is part of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s plans to modernise the fire and rescue service’s buildings over the next 15 years, providing suitable, fit for purpose, community-based fire stations across the County of Berkshire. The rebuild follows in the successful footsteps of Hungerford Community Fire Station, which opened in July 2017.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews were temporarily based at Wellington College in Crowthorne while building works were carried out.
Tony Jell, watch manager at Crowthorne Fire Station, said at the official opening, “We are pleased to have moved into the new station over the weekend. We are looking forward to welcoming the community into the new building once the current restrictions are lifted. We are very thankful to Wellington College for providing us with a temporary location during the works and now, we are very happy to be back responding from the High Street in the heart of the village.”
Councillor Colin Dudley, chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said, “I am delighted to bring this piece of good news at a very difficult time for our communities. I would like to share my sincere thanks to Wellington College for providing a temporary location for the local fire fighters to respond from while works were completed, which enabled them to continue their vital work.”
Despite many challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, the main contractor, Knights Brown Construction Ltd, together with their sub-contractors and local providers, worked tirelessly within government construction industry guidelines to safely complete the project.
Councillor Angus Ross, lead member for strategic assets on Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, added, “Our thanks go to all involved for working tirelessly, under very difficult circumstances to complete this essential operational base for the three blue light services - Fire, Police and Ambulance.
Source: Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service