The Northern Ireland Fire And Rescue Service, much like the rest of the UK, utilises the latest fire engines and fire apparatus to be able to deal swiftly and decisively with any type of fire that is either about to or has engulfed a building, vessel or vehicle.
The range of vehicles available to the fire service across the Northern Ireland region are all encompassing. The equipment varies across the 68 active fire stations dependent on the area and the buildings and chemicals in use within each region.
For instance if there is a tower block or large warehousing, then aerial ladder platforms would reside in that district. However they can also be strategically placed at fire stations in close proximity to other stations and areas in which they can quickly respond. This negates the requirement for rarely used equipment and keeps down costs. Of course the more predominate engine that can be found at all stations are the pumping appliances. These come in a variety of offerings but they usually house water reservoirs for initial fire fighting, during which they would source water from a nearby fire hydrant.
Fire engines, dependent on their age and circumstance, have the ability to mix water with other solutions to offer a better fire fighting capability as well as ensure less water damage after a fire has superseded. These are termed, a compressed air foam system, an impulse fire-extinguishing system or stand alone air pump and foam injection.
The Northern Ireland Fire And Rescue Service, as of 2011 currently has the following across its 68 fire stations:
124 pumping appliances
12 rescue pumps
6 aerial ladder platforms
2 rescue tenders
3 operational support units
4 command support units
4 water tankers
3 all-terrain vehicles
11 prime movers with 25 pods
96 rapid response vehicles
3 special team vehicles
Two vital aspects of any fire response is the ability to immediately set up a command centre to ensure full control of any incident and ensure the ongoing response is correct. If more crews are needed or if perhaps they can be lessened and stood down to answer other emergency calls. These are usually sent to scenes which are larger than your average house fire.
Aside from pumping appliances and rescue pumps, the NIFRS has three operational support units. These contain specialist equipment that is not required on every fire engine. They may hold essential tools to deal with chemical fires or further cutting mechanisms for road traffic accidents.