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Motorbike pilot scheme for Merseyside firefighters

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Media captionA firebike is used to put out a car fire

Firefighters on Merseyside will use motorcycles to answer fire calls in a new pilot scheme.

The BMW bikes carry two 25-litre water tanks and a 30-metre hose reel which produces water droplets and foam.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue is the first fire service in the UK to use the new vehicles. It will use two bikes for attending low-level fires.

The service said it will allow them to save fire engines for emergencies where life or property is at risk.

'Pioneering project'

Deputy chief fire officer Mike Hogen said: "We are once again looking for innovative ways to help us tackle the issues that we face in Merseyside.

"Anti-social behaviour fires, such as wheelie bins and skips, account for 62% of our total fire call-outs.

"In recent years we have looked at alternative ways to tackle these incidents and these fire bikes offer a new, exciting possibility."

The firefighters using the bikes have been given special training and specially-designed protective equipment.

Group manager John McCormack, from the fire service, said: "It is a pioneering way of dealing with small fires and because it has never been done here, the project has been several years in the making.

"The bike and the kit have been specifically designed so that they are safe and fit for purpose and we are impressed with the products that we now have."

The trial is due to start next month.

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