The creation of a combined fire and ambulance station will get under way next month in a scheme that heralds a new era in collaborative working between front-line emergency services in the Isle of Man.
Tynwald today (Tuesday 21 June 2016) approved capital investment of £1.45million to provide the purpose-built facility on the Ronaldsway Business Park. Part of the funding will also be used to convert the southern ambulance station into a replacement fire station for Port Erin.
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson said: ‘The Department is committed to maintaining public safety and the provision of much-needed new facilities for the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service supports that objective. Building a combined fire and ambulance station is an innovative approach that will result in more collaborative “blue light” working to better serve the community, meet operational demands and provide strategic emergency cover.’
Chris Thomas MHK, DHA Member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service and the Emergency Services Joint Control Room, added: ‘This is another example of joint working building on the collaboration in the Joint Control Room. Living on an island amplifies the need for cooperation between all the emergency and rescue services.’
The current fire stations at Farrants Way in Castletown (built in 1964) and Droghadfayle Road in Port Erin (built 1957) have reached the end of their operational lives. The Department’s plans will allow the two Government-owned sites to be released for redevelopment. The combined value of the sites is estimated at £1million, resulting in a potential net cost to Government for the new facilities of approximately £500,000.
Following Tynwald approval, the combined fire and ambulance station will be constructed opposite the Isle of Man Airport, near to the Sefton Express Hotel and Strix factory. The site was selected after a feasibility study and risk assessment of the Ballasalla and Castletown communities.
Scheduled for completion in summer 2017, the station will provide a drive-in drive-out capability for appliances and appropriate facilities for retained firefighters and ambulance staff. There will also be a training ground and 10-metre tower to support on-Island training programmes and enhance skills and knowledge across a range of key disciplines.
Once the new station is operational, the Southern Ambulance Service will vacate its current base at Southlands for conversion into a replacement for Port Erin fire station.
Chief Fire Officer Kevin Groom said: ‘These plans align with our vision of making the Island safer by investing in our staff and infrastructure to protect vulnerable people and reduce risk within the local community.’