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The first of two brand new state-of-the-art, multi-million-pound training centres for London’s firefighters will be officially opened by Mayor Boris Johnson on Monday (9 June).
The dedicated facility at Beckton, and a second venue due to open later this year at Park Royal, mark the biggest modernisation of firefighter training in the capital for over a century.
The world class, environmentally friendly venues, are provided by London Fire Brigade’s training partner Babcock and replace the Brigade’s Southwark Training Centre which has been training firefighters since 1878 and no-longer fulfils the requirements of a modern fire and rescue service.
The decision to outsource training for fire brigade staff in London to a private training provider is saving the Brigade an estimated £66 million over the life of the contract.
At 3,200 square metres, the indoor, 24 hour, all-weather Beckton site in East London houses centres of excellence for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Incident Command training, a ‘firehouse’ for real fire training and classroom facilities.
The USAR rig, which includes mock-ups of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings, a crane and jib and areas for hot cutting and chain saw operations provide firefighters with a realistic training environment to practice rescue skills used in major incidents such as building collapses and plane and train crashes.
The zero emission firehouse is carbon neutral and allows crews to train in a wide variety of different real fire conditions, while the Incident Command training suite uses floor to ceiling screens and simulation gaming-style interactive software to test incident command skills in a range of different scenarios.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said:
"I believe that London Fire Brigade is the best fire and rescue service in the world and we now have first class training facilities to match. The centres of excellence provided by Babcock radically improve the quality of facilities that are available to us, providing our firefighters and support staff with state-of-the-art, realistic, safe learning environments to hone their skills across the wide-range of disciplines that are required by the modern fire and rescue service.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
"This gold standard facility will help London Fire Brigade to deliver a world class service to Londoners. It is part of a multi-million pound modernisation programme to ensure the service and its staff are equipped with the very best kit to respond to the challenges of a growing 21st century city.”
Gordon Reynolds, Babcock Director of Training, said:
“Babcock is proud to be working in partnership with the London Fire Brigade. We have used expertise from across Babcock, the London Fire Brigade and internationally to develop facilities which are in line with the immediate training needs of the Brigade and flexible enough to accommodate future training requirements including multi-agency training. Most importantly we are committed to providing world class training to support the Brigade in keeping London safe.”
• Following a competitive tender process, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority agreed to outsource training for fire brigade staff in London to private training provider, Babcock Training Limited in 2011 and the contract began in April 2012.
• Babcock has invested over £13m in new training facilities for the London Fire Brigade and outsourcing its training provision will save the Brigade an estimated £66 million over the next 25 years
• The outsourcing proposals will see the introduction of two new Emergency Service training centres alongside upgrades to 10 regional training centres and all fire stations.