Fire and ambulance crews have just moved into quarters at Sleaford’s new shared fire and ambulance station.
The teams began moving in on Tuesday to be operational for May 1 and Area Manager Response and International Search and Rescue Lead Mark Baxter tweeted a photo of some of the staff and equipment now on site on Eastgate in the newly built premises.
He said: “Pleasure to be at Sleaford station today as the new station went live with our crews and EMAS all moved in together. Well done to everyone who made this happen.”
Fire crews and ambulance staff in the town are now based under one roof in a £6million shared station.
As part of a countywide plan for the emergency services to collaborate more closely, improve services to the public and provide value for money, the Sleaford fire station, constructed on the site of the former Eastgate Centre which housed services for adults with learning difficulties and some library services, will be the second station in the county to be run in this way with ambulance crews relocating from their base in Kesteven Street.
The project, approved by the county council in 2015, also includes office space for council staff to move from their Riverside offices next to NKDC’s buildings.
Richard Hunter, locality manager for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), told The Standard previously: “This is an exciting venture for the emergency services in Lincolnshire.
“Residents will be aware that our station on Kesteven Street is old and as a result is getting very expensive to run and maintain. EMAS is a mobile healthcare provider treating patients in their home, at the scene of an incident and en route to hospital if further treatment is required. The majority of our time therefore is spent away from the current ambulance station.
“By teaming up and slightly modifying the new station on Eastgate whilst it is still being built, our staff can access and share better facilities, develop closer working relationships with our fire service colleagues and therefore provide better services for local people.”
Peter Mason, EMAS Head of Blue Light Collaboration had added: “EMAS will be making a contribution toward the cost of the new shared fire and ambulance station.
“Funds raised from the sale of Sleaford ambulance station will enable us to invest in future capital projects such as purchasing more ambulances and further blue light collaboration projects. The funds raised from the sale of the building allows us to ensure we play our part in delivering the right care to patients, in the right way.”
Chief Fire Officer, Nick Borrill, added: “At a time when public service budgets remain under pressure, innovative collaborative new ways of working are needed to ensure we maintain excellent emergency services for residents, businesses and visitors in Lincolnshire in a cost effective way.
“By co-locating, we can not only save money, but also work more closely together, building a better understanding between our services.
“For example, at the station, we have a simulated search and rescue training facility and a practice road traffic collision area - ideal for firefighters and ambulance crews to train together and develop new ways of working.”
The new fire station replaces the existing station on Church Lane, which has been operational since 1952.
It will also house Sleaford’s whole-time firefighters who are part of the county’s Urban Search and Rescue response, that were temporarily based in an industrial unit further along East Road.
The project was expected to be fully-operational by May last year but hit unexpected construction delays.
The scheme is funded by the sale of both sites – Riverside and Church Lane - and a small capital investment.
Dave Hopkins, resources manager for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, had said: “Sleaford is a growing town and is already one of our busiest stations. By building this new premises, we will have space for an increased number of fire engines, a new accommodation pod for our full-time firefighters on a new and more efficient shift pattern. This will allow us to provide the best possible service to the local community as well as being a key site in supporting our countywide response.”
Its positioning means it will take just a couple of minutes to get onto the A17 enabling our crews to get to Grantham, Boston or Lincoln quickly and assist other call outs across the county.