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Updated: July 23, 2010 18:42 IST

British firefighters to use motorbikes fitted with hoses

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A fire crew at work. New technology, which will equip motobikes with firefighting tools, is expected to radically reduce response time. File photo
AP A fire crew at work. New technology, which will equip motobikes with firefighting tools, is expected to radically reduce response time. File photo

Fire chiefs in Britain have unveiled their latest weapon - a 30,000-pound ($13,600) “fire bike” fitted with a power hose, which will be sent out instead of fire engines if fires are not deemed a threat to people or buildings, a media report said Friday.

Currently, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is trialling two such motorbikes, The Telegraph reported on its website.

The 12,000cc bikes by BMW cost about 30,000 pounds in total each to buy and to equip so they are suitable for firemen to use. Each engine is fitted with two 25 litre canisters filled with water and foam and a high powered 30m jet hose.

The hose will work for two to three minutes but can put out a car fire in around 20 seconds.

Specially trained drivers are equipped with bespoke jacket and trousers, made by a company called Universal Carbon Fibres, which are both fire resistant and safe to wear on the road.

Firemen still need a separate fire and crash helmet, however. A spokesman for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said: “About 60 percent of what we do is putting out ‘rubbish fires’”

These are fires that don’t pose a threat to people or buildings. If approved this trial would enable us to buy more bikes and have them in stations where they have the highest incidences of such fires.

It is an expensive bike but then a fire appliance costs 250,000 pounds. It also means roads aren’t blocked with 17 tonne fire engines which will be carrying life-saving equipment that could be used elsewhere.

If the six month trial is successful, the scheme could be rolled out nationwide. Fire services from around the country attended a demonstration in Merseyside Friday.

Fire bikes are already used in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Turkey.

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