An Incident Response Unit (IRU) is a decontamination vehicle that was introduced in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
It has a forklift truck mounted on the rear which is used to remove the equipment cages from the curtain-side truck.
Equipment includes disrobe and rerobe packs for before and after casualty decontamination; 48 gastight suits; tent structures raised by hot-air blowers; decontamination showers powered by a water boiler and supplied by a submersible pump (decontaminated water is dammed); a telescopic lighting unit; mobile data transmission; GPS mapping and radiation monitoring devices.
Operational Support Units (OSUs)take specialist supporting equipment, such as a large quantity of breathing apparatus, to incidents.
A number of palletised and transferable loads are stored at the Operational Support Stations. These pallets can then be requested by incident commanders as required, and would be loaded on to the OSU to be taken to the fireground.
I've been retired now for 12 years, when I left we had 125 fire stations but that has decreased a bit now, maybe down to about 120 now.
Yes, it is surprising how few arials, but they are placed so that one can be in attendance within 10 mins anywhere in London and two or more within 15 mins.
It didn't use to be like that, this reduction is mostly due to the heavy duty Fire Safety Regs that apply throughout London. For instance ALL multi story buildings have to have protected escape routes, dry or wet risers, sprinklers etc. These measures have reduced the number of major incidents dramatically, and it's has been found that in most cases Pumps can deal effectively with most incidents.
The LFB also has a large full time staff of Fire Safety Officers who visit commercial buildings constantly to check compliance, and almost always prosecute non-compliance.
The truck company is staffed with 4. The quints are staffed with 4, but may drop to 2 if their cross-staffed medic is on a call. The engines are staffed with 3 minimum and may have 4. If 4, they use the same 2+2 staffing as the quints. If 3, all three cross-staff both the engine and the medic.
The coverage company is staffed with 3 and cross-staffs their engine and medic.
The battalion chief rides solo.
If you want to see similar cross-staffing systems, look at South Kitsap, WA and Clearcreek, OH. Both of them run very similar systems to ours.
Henrico County (Va) Division of Fire
SFD 3 engines, 1 special service (truck or squad) MFD 3 and 2, CD 3 and 2 once on scene you can request a working fire upgrade which gets you another engine, special service, ambulance, 2nd chief, EMS supervisor/safety officer
3 man minimum on engines, trucks and squads, 2 man minimum on ambulances