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Specialist Units

Specialist units allow crews to approach a variety of emergencies, including chemical incidents, high rise buildings, water rescues and heavy lifting.

Zetros Off Road Appliance

Zetros Off Road Appliance
  • Following the Swinley Forest fire in May 2011, it was identified that RBFRS would benefit from having an off-road appliance capable of delivering large amounts of water at an incident. The six-wheeled Zetros can get to places other bulk carriers cannot due to its off-road capability and in flood conditions, it has a wading depth of 0.8m.
  • The appliance carries 8,000 litres of water and 1,000 litres of foam, with its monitors having an 80m range which can be operated whilst the vehicle is moving.

Ford Rangers

Ford Ranger
  • A Ford Ranger crew cab (5 seats) fitted with a permanently installed canopy over the rear bed for safety and security.
  • The vehicles are all fitted with a towbar as standard and a blue light emergency response package and scene lighting.


Mercedes Sprinter

Mercedes Sprinter
  • There are eight Mercedes Sprinters in RBFRS fleet and these fill varying roles across the county including the Water Rescue Unit based at Caversham Road Fire Station, the Forward Control Unit at Dee Road Fire Station, a 4×4 model used as a first strike vehicle, 5-seater models used by the Community Safety Team and the MRV (Multi-Role Vehicle) pictured here.
  • The 4×4 vehicle has a rear-mounted Rosenbauer ‘Otter’ pump and a 500-litre capacity onboard water tank. It is powered by a 2.6 litre,156bhp five cylinders turbo-charged engine.

Rescue Boat

VEH spec fire alpha work rescue boat
  • The ‘Workstar’ jet boat is believed to be the largest in-shore capacity boat in the country and is used to respond to fire and rescue emergencies on the River Thames. A crew and six adults can be supported on the boat, which can be mobilised in conditions deemed too dangerous for other smaller scale fire and rescue techniques.
  • It is 7.5m in length and is powered by a 164 horsepower motor. It is located at Caversham Road Fire Station and is transported by a Mercedes Sprinter.

Rescue Boat Trailer

VEH spec rescue boat trailer
  • This is a specialist trailer used to transport the Work Rescue Boat to incidents and/or training exercises.
  • The trailer is towed by a Mercedes Sprinter and is be-spoke designed for the Fire Alpha II Work Rescue Boat.

Heavy Rescue Unit

VEH spec Mercedes econic Heavy Rescue Unit
  • The Mercedes Econic Heavy Rescue Unit (HRU) capability has been designed to enhance the provision of service to the community and provide a safer working environment for our personnel. The capability provides an interim Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capability to complement the National Resilience USAR provision as well as supporting our attendance at rescues requiring an uprated rescue provision e.g. LGVs or railway incidents, structural collapse and entrapments.
  • The crew of the HRU have sufficient training and equipment to allow initial life-saving operations to be undertaken prior to the arrival of the full USAR units.
  • It is envisaged that RBFRS has the capability to fulfil the needs of a Level 1 USAR incident – up to 4 floors with less than 10 casualties.
  • The HRU is fitted with a Palfinger crane which has a maximum lifting capacity of 3,240kg and a maximum reach of 14.6 metres. The vehicle has a maximum gross weight of 18 tonnes.

Mercedes Operational Support Unit (OSU)

VEH spec Mercedes Hazardous Materials and Environmental Response Unit (HERU)
  • The OSU (Operational Support Unit) is used to transport heavy specialised equipment to the site of an incident. It is equipped with a Kooi AAP forklift truck that is used to unload the equipment at the incident.
  • The vehicle has a maximum GVW of 25 tonnes (25,000kg), has three axles and is powered by a Cummins 8,300cc diesel engine through an Allison World Series automatic gearbox.

Mercedes Hazardous Materials and Environmental Response Unit (HERU)

VEH spec Mercedes Hazardous Materials and Environmental Response Unit (HERU)
  • The HERU is used to transport specialised environmental protection equipment to the site of an incident. It is equipped with a Kooi AAP forklift truck that is used to unload the equipment.
  • The Kooi AAP forklift truck is carried on the back of the vehicle.

Kooi AAP Forklift

VEH spec Kooi AAP Forklift
  • These forklift trucks are used to unload and move various equipment.
  • RBFRS has two of these forklifts.

Lansing Bagnall 4 Tonne Counter-balance Forklift

VEH spec Lansing Bagnall 4 Tonne Counter-balance Forklift
  • This non-frontline forklift is in general use at Whitley Wood Fire Station (Station 20) including warehouse and other on-site duties.
  • Based at Whitley Wood Fire Station

Horse / Livestock Trailer

VEH spec Horse / Livestock Trailer
  • This can be used for the transportation of livestock/horses in connection with the Heavy Rescue Unit (HRU).
  • This equipment forms part of the Animal Rescue equipment.

Moffet Mounty Forklift Truck

VEH Spec Moffet Mounty Forklift Truck
  • A forklift truck is carried on the rear of the IRU and is used to remove the equipment cages.
  • Forklift trucks can only be operated by trained forklift truck operators.

MAN Incident Response Unit (IRU)

MAN Incident Response Unit (IRU)
  • This vehicle is a National resource supplied by government, to respond to an incident involving mass decontamination. Mass decontamination is defined as incidents where more than one person can be decontaminated simultaneously using the same equipment. Each IRU is maintained by Whitley Wood Fire Station personnel with assistance from support stations which all receive training on the equipment at regular periods throughout the year.
  • The vehicle is fitted with a differential lock for use in crossing soft or muddy ground and is rear wheel drive. Vehicle length is 11.2 m, Height 3.3m, Width 2.54m, Weight 21 tonnes. It also carries a Moffet Mounty Forklift.

Mercedes Atego Incident Command Unit (ICU)

Mercedes Atego Incident Command Unit (ICU)
  • The ICU is a mobile control unit used to transport crew and equipment for advanced command and control protocol at larger more protracted incidents that require the attendance of seven or more Berkshire Pumping appliances. It can also be used for over the border incidents. It is crewed with a minimum of four.
  • The vehicle has a maximum GVW of 15 tonnes (15,000kg). Vehicle dimensions are height 3.9m, width 2.54m and length 10.7m.

MAN High Volume Pump (HVP)

MAN High Volume Pump (HVP)
  • This vehicle is a National resource supplied by government. The MAN truck carries a High Volume Pump (HVP) plus hose, and is designed to deploy these elements. The equipment is designed to be used to move large quantities of water quickly such as when attending flooding incidents, or the provision of high volumes of water for firefighting.
  • The HVP can pump water through a hose of 150mm and 300mm diameter (normal hose is 45-70mm). The HVP can pump at 8,000 and 22,000 lpm (compared to a normal fire engine of 2,250 lpm). The HVP can pump 8,000 lpm over 3km through 150mm hose.

Bronto Skylift Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP)

Bronto Skylift Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP)
  • The Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) is a Bronto Skylift 45XR, that has been built by Angloco on a Volvo chassis.
  • The ALP is primarily used for working at height via a platform. Mainly used for rescues from height and as a water delivery system for firefighting. It can supply a maximum of 3,800 litres of water per minute through the vehicle. This can be controlled through a remote control.
  • The maximum working height of the platform is 45m. Maximum cage outreach is 25.8m. Maximum load in the cage is 500Kg.
  • Vehicle dimensions: Length: 10175mm, Width: 2300mm (excluding mirrors), Height: 3700mm, Weight: 25,600kg, Number of Axels: 3

Mercedes Atego Recovery Truck

Mercedes Atego Recovery Truck
  • RBFRS uses this for self-recovery of light fleet plus delivery and collection of cars for RTC training and general operational logistical support.
  • The vehicle is based on a 13,000 kg chassis.

Decontamination and Environmental Protection Unit (DEPU)

Decontamination and Environmental Protection Unit (DEPU)

This vehicle is equipped to use at incidents where there is a risk to the local environment or where there is a hazard which requires our crews to operate in gas tight suits.

Equipment on the vehicle includes:

  • Chemical protection suits.
  • Spill containment sets (for example, absorbent pads and granules).
  • A hazardous material vacuum cleaner.
  • A peristaltic pump – used to pump clean/sterile or highly reactive fluids without exposing those fluids to contamination from exposed pump components.
  • A generator.

Water Rescue Unit (East Hub)

A Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service van

Following four tragic accidental drownings in Berkshire’s waterways in 2022, the Service advanced plans to provide a specialist water rescue capability in the East of the County, to complement the existing water rescue capability provided from Caversham Road Fire Station in Reading.

This unit operates out of Slough. Crews at the station were provided with over 50 hours of intensive training to qualify as Module 3 Swift Water Rescue Technicians (SWTs).