Kent Fire and Rescue Service has introduced new water rescue vehicles to enhance its response when someone is struggling in water or mud.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has introduced new water rescue vehicles to its fleet of emergency vehicles to help provide a quicker and more effective rescue response.  Two of the specialist vans are already in use across Kent and Medway, with an additional three soon to be available.  

The 4×4 vehicles are strategically based at fire stations where crews are trained in flood, water and mud rescues and include a variety of improved features to help firefighters respond to those types of emergencies.  

The new water rescue vehicle, with all the equipment to the side of it including an inflatable boat and platform

One of the key changes is the units can transport inflatable motorised boats on-board, rather than towing them, which means they can leave the station quickly and travel at blue light speed.  The inflatable boats, which can be used with or without a motor, can also be easily transported and inflated anywhere, enabling the crew to enter the water as close as possible to the person in need of help.  

Grant Brooker, Kent Fire and Rescue Service – Water Rescue and Flooding Lead, said:

“We’re a forward-thinking fire and rescue service, so we’re always looking at ways we can improve our response and effectiveness. This not only ensures we’re delivering the highest level of assistance to people across the county, but it means we’re providing the best equipment and facilities for our crews, and these vehicles have everything you need to deal with a rescue from an unstable surface, such as water or mud, response to flood or water rescue.  

“Unfortunately, based on most recent figures, Kent is the joint third county in the UK for the highest number of accidental drownings. And, with many waterways and coastlines in the area, it’s vital we’re equipped and ready to respond to rescues swiftly.”

To help reduce the number of accidental drownings in the county, KFRS has launched it’s Make the Right Call campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the correct emergency service to call.  

For inland water rescues, call 999 and ask for the fire service, or if you’re by the sea, ask for the Coastguard. 

By Ed

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