MILITARY and civilian firefighters in Corsham have signed a joint working agreement which formalises a long-standing goodwill arrangement between the services, and means there is now an extra response vehicle available within a 10-minute callout radius of the town.

Although the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) and the military fire service based at the Ministry of Defence in Corsham, the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO), have often worked together, they have never had a formal arrangement.

A signing ceremony was recently held at Ministry of Defence Corsham, which included a simulated crash exercise using both crews. The exercise involved the military firefighters removing a ‘casualty’ from the wreckage before conducting a handover with the DWFRS team once they arrived on the scene.

Corsham Fire Station, in Beechfield Road, is an on-call station, meaning its firefighters respond to calls when paged. The extra support from the military service should aid the response time to all fire calls, whether on or off military premises.

The military fire team's support will be available as long as their own commitments allow and firefighters will always be backed up by a DWFRS crew. The DWFRS control room will decide when the military crew’s support is needed.

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell, from DWFRS, said: “We’ve been working and training together with the Defence service for years, so I’m delighted that we’ve cemented the agreement for everyone’s benefit, especially that of the general public.

“It will mean enhanced collaboration and inter-operability so we can support each other and use our collective resources in the best possible way to deal with emergencies in the community. This is an additional resource, not a replacement, and will provide extra cover especially for that side of town.”

DFRMO Chief Fire Officer, Joel Gray, added: “Our relationship with the local fire service has always been robust because of the all the military sites in the area. I’m delighted to see this joint working scheme come to fruition.”