Fire stations of the world: New modern and purpose-built fire station and training centre opens in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, UK
A brand new fire station and service training centre has opened in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, UK. The modern and purpose-built station replaces the current site on St John’s Park and will provide the opportunity to train more fire fighters than they previously could. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have recently received the keys to the new development. Huntingdon Fire Station is the largest fire station in the Huntingdonshire district. It moved from Hartford Road to 7 Percy Road in Huntingdon on 1 February 2023.
This is a significant development with a budget over £10,5 million, started April ’22 and was completed October ‘22. Sustainability is at the heart of the design, a functional, economical, low maintenance building which will provide Cambridge Fire and Rescue Services with the modern facilities it requires to provide effective service to the people of Cambridgeshire.
The three-acre development consists of a fire station and its related support areas, overnight accommodation for those fire fighters’ working nights, along with lecture rooms and supplementary changing facilities. There are also offices for support staff, such as the health and safety team, operational support group and occupational health team. The training area was purpose-built and installed by Crofton Engineering.
It is staffed 24/7 by fire fighters who operate the first water tender. There are four watches at Huntingdon - Green, Red, Blue and White.
Huntingdon is also where the Service's training centre and instructors are located, along with the on-call support, operational support and health and safety teams. The Occupational Health team is also based at Huntingdon Fire Station.
The station commander at the station is Paul Oliver.
Vehicles at this station include one Scania rescue pump, one Scania water tender and one incident command unit (ICU). There is a second water tender at Huntingdon crewed by on-call fire fighters. The station also houses the incident command unit.
Construction for the site began in September 2021 with work said to have "progressed at pace to complete the build before fire fighters begin responding from the site later this month". The new facilities provide an upgrade for the whole time and on-call operational staff members as well as support staff from occupational health, health and safety and the operational support group.
The training facility will offer "effective, reliable and realistic" training for all operational staff and enable the service to train more fire fighters more often than the current site allows.
To officially mark the opening and milestone, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, was joined by key colleagues involved with the project from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, including Project Manager Jodie Houseago and Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland and contractors Artisan, as well as Fire Authority Chair, Councillor Edna Murphy.
Deputy chief executive, Matthew Warren commented, “The project has come on tremendous amounts since planning began in 2013. A huge thanks must go to all those involved in getting the development to where it is today, particularly to Councillor Kevin Reynolds who played a pivotal role in getting the project off the ground. We now have a first class fire station and Training Centre that will provide an excellent facility it will be for our staff and our community.”
Chair of the fire authority, Councillor Edna Murphy, added, “We are delighted that after years of perseverance, we now have the best possibly facilities to develop firefighters in Cambridgeshire and have a new fit for purpose fire station. Special recognition must go to Councillor Kevin Reynolds, former chair of the fire authority, who recognised the importance of our fire fighters having the very best facilities, and driving forwards the development with the fire authority to get it where it is now.”
The service is recruiting more on-call fire fighters to join the Huntingdon on-call crew at the new station.
New Fire Training Centre In partnership with Artisan Developments Ltd and Crofton Engineering, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have completed construction of a new community fire station and purpose-built training centre at St John’s Park, north of Huntingdon.
It will provide reliable and realistic training for all operational fire fighters and dramatically increase CFRS’ capacity to train more fire fighters more often.
The training area was purpose-built and installed by Crofton Engineering. Crofton Engineering was founded locally, in 1953, in a small village near Cambridge and is one of the market leaders in the fabrication and installation of steel structures and specialist fire training buildings and structures.
The training area allows CFRS to create realistic training exercises include, live fire training containers, areas to support incidents involving water and motor vehicles and a four-storey training tower.
The main training building is 12m x 12m and includes facilities to simulate cold smoke and LPG fires. It is a compartment building which contains everything you would find in a residential or commercial building, including stairs, rooms, hallways, corridors, garages etc, which allows for a multitude of applicable training scenarios. Cold smoke as available in all rooms and on all floors but there is also facility to control the smoke in each room independently, providing further flexibility.
For the main training building (MTB) at CFRS training centre together with Crofton Engineering Fireblast GmbH designed the gas fuelled live fire training system in accordance with DIN 14097 Part 2 and NFPA 1402 standard. Fireblast GmbH is using the latest state of the art design to provide challenging scenarios to allow CFRS team to do as much as possible tactical training under realistic conditions.
The MTB for the moment is equipped with three computer controlled gas fuelled fires and prepared for additional fires in the future. In the ground floor Garage Fireblast GmbH installed a large fire pit within the floor to allow CFRS to add different suitable mock ups including a car to simulate a garage, a workshop, a storage and many more for a variety of situations. Due to the fact that the MTB is designed with different rooms and entrances the long corridor was used for a dual hallway flash over simulation to practise door opening and attack procedures.
On the second floor Fireblast GmbH installed a multi-prop fire that also provide options with different set of mock ups. So, this room can be a bedroom as well as a living room or a small kitchen just by changing the elements placed on top of the multi prop platform.
Fireblast’s safety standard is one of the best in the industry by using redundant drawn sample gas monitoring systems, temperature monitoring and exhaust ventilation systems in each burn room. In addition all training rooms are equipped with high-capacity smoke machines for very obscured visibility.
The technology Fireblast GmbH is using is in place at different sites now in the UK and Europe and together with Crofton Engineering the team can also support your ideas for live fire training facilities.
Dry risers are installed on all floors to provide realistic situation training. The main building has also been developed with the flexibility to add extra LPG fires and training props at a later date, as and when required, which will allow for the facility to grow with demand or alter with changing requirements.
The training centre also includes a training tower for rope rescue, rescue from heights and safe working at heights training. The training tower also includes capabilities for aerial ladder fire training and rescue and a lift shaft for various other difficult rescue scenarios.
Also on site, there are three real fire training buildings which include: the compartmental fire behaviour training unit, the fire development attack training unit, and a real fire training building over three floors. This includes scenarios for commercial units on the ground floor, Flats on the second floor and attic and loft space on the top floor.
With various windows, doors, corridors and floors the training instructors have a large amount of flexibility to alter all aspects of the fire development as they see fit, meaning that fire fighters will never know the scenario in advance and will therefore be required to be able to adapt to whatever occurs during the exercise. This makes training far more effective, and far more applicable to the real world, in which scenarios will continually be unpredictable, with decisions having to be made differently for each specific situation.
On the site, there is also a steel rack for storage of cars for extrication and rescue training scenarios and an area for water rescue.
The facilities are fully operational and prepared to accommodate a near unlimited amount of training scenarios and possibilities. This excellent new facility will greatly improve operational training for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue services for many years to come with its future-proof, sustainable design, allowing current and trainee firefighters to develop to their maximum potential.
Facilities specifications Main training building 12m x 12m x four storeys high LPG Live Fire Training Building Solid concrete block walls with cast in situ concrete floors with profile metal cladding external envelope Pre cast concrete internal staircase Dry riser with outlet valves to each landing Each floor has its own artificial smoke machine fed to all floors via a network of steel pipework with valves to each room Three LPG Fires – supplied by Fireblast GmbH Ground floor – Garage Fire Ground floor – Corridor Flashover Fire Second floor – Bedroom Fire We have future proofed the building so more fire can be added Calcium silicate thermal lining system Ground floor garage will roller shutter door Versatile and flexible room layout
High-rise stair training tower
Multiple drill faces with varying size openings
Drill riser with outlets valves at all landing level
Lift shaft for confined space working
Walkways and landing to entry points at all floor of the main training buildings
Rope rescue climbing frame
Suitable for basic SWAH training as well as Line Rescue levels 1 and 2
Exposed ledges and platforms
CFBT Container village
7 x 40 ft containers
4 burn rooms, two on ground floor, one on first floor and one on second floor
Mixed of spaces – commercial area, flats, bedrooms
Internal and external stairs
Dry riser to each floor
Control room with temperature monitoring equipment
CFBT Demonstrator Unit
Standard 40 ft unit
CFBT attack unit
Standard 40 ft unit
RTC Car Storage Rack: Suitable for storing 15 cars.
6m x 6m building
Timber and forklift store
Sources: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridge News, Crofton Engineering, Fireblast GmbH
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