North East Wales

Response times to rise after fire ladder cuts

An aerial ladder platform
Image caption It would cost about £600,000 to replace an ALP appliance

The North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority has voted not to replace one of four aerial ladder platforms (ALPs) in operation across the region.

The service will operate with three ladders when one reaches the end of its 20-year life span in 2012.

The expected response time, or "attendance standard", will rise from 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

It has not been decided which of the ALPs - based at Bangor, Llandudno, Rhyl and Wrexham - will go out of service.

Featuring telescopic booms, the £600,000 ALPs allow firefighters to gain access to areas higher than ladders normally carried on appliances.

They require a pumping appliance to be with them to allow firefighting.

The service said there was no national required attendance time for ALPs, and it has previously been 30 minutes in north Wales.

Councillor Sharon Frobisher, chair of the authority, said: "The replacement process would take around 18 months for the specification design, build and commissioning of a new appliance, so it is wholly appropriate that the authority reviews its attendance standard at this time, as we have when other appliances were replaced."

She added: "Maintaining the adopted 20 minute attendance time necessitates the provision of four aerial ladder platforms.

"The decision to adopt a 30 minute attendance time will remove the requirement to replace one of these special appliances while continuing to discharge the authority's duty to meet the current operational needs of the Fire and Rescue Service and to ensuring public safety."

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