Fire stations of the world: New state-of-the-art Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service fire station for St Helens, UK, opens
Fire fighters have officially moved into the new state-of-the-art Community Fire Station in St Helens, Merseyside, UK, marking the start of a new era for the fire safety of the town. The purpose-built station, constructed on unused land at Pilkington Glass’ Watson Street site, officially became operational on Friday, 16 October 2020. It is the third hybrid Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) station, alongside Wallasey and Liverpool City. Staffed 24/7, the station will be home to 38 fire fighters and three fire engines, with one engine crewed by wholetime fire fighters, a second crewed through the day time and the third crewed by wholetime retained fire fighters. The station will also be home to two combined platform ladders. Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “This is a ground-breaking day for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the communities of St Helens. This fit-for-purpose station means we are able to continue providing the best possible service to the people of St Helens, while also providing our fire fighters with the facilities they rightly deserve.
“It is no secret that MFRS has suffered at the hands of extensive budget cuts in recent years but I have made it my mission to ensure it is equipped to meet the demands placed on a modern day fire and rescue service and whilst we would always seek to avoid closing fire stations, the merging of Eccleston and Parr Stocks fire stations was the most viable operational decision. The location of St Helens Community Fire Station means we are able to maintain some of the fastest response times in the country and protect the safety of the communities we serve.
“This development would not have been possible had it not been for Wates Construction. They have been exceptional and have gone above and beyond to ensure the station was ready to go operational on time, in spite of the challenges we have faced as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
The fire station also includes operational and welfare accommodation, a community meeting room, offices and training facilities, including an external drill area and four-storey training tower.
As well as marking the station’s opening, the day also saw the unveiling of the station’s access road – named Violet Way, in tribute to Violet-Grace Youens.
Station Manager Wayne Woods said, “Fire fighters from Eccleston were the first on scene on the day that Violet-Grace tragically died and since that time they have maintained a strong connection with the Youens family. I am incredibly proud of the work that fire fighters from both Eccleston and Parr Stocks have put in to supporting the family and raising vital funds for the Violet-Grace’s Gift charity. It is only right that the new station pays tribute to her memory.”
As well as fire fighters, the station will house arson prevention teams, Protection teams and Youth Engagement teams including Prince’s Trust.
A public consultation into the future of fire cover in St Helens took place in 2015. The land off Milverny Way/Watson Street was chosen for merger of Eccleston and Parr Stocks fire stations as it enables an equitable emergency response cover to both areas.
Planning permission was granted in March 2019, with construction work commencing in August that same year.
Source: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service