Lancaster’s fire and ambulance crews will soon be sharing a new home which aims to include the community as well as help to keep them safe.
The new £2.4m Lancaster Community Fire and Ambulance Station is expected to be fully operational by both emergency services by November, and an open day this weekend aims to show the people of Lancaster exactly what will be going on behind its new doors.
Work has been progressing on the site since 2016, when the development was given the green light after Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service successfully bid for government funding.
Phase One saw the refurbishment of 38 Cable Street, previously leased by Lancaster City Council but which now forms part of the new station.
At the start of Phase Two fire crews moved into 38 Cable Street while the old station was demolished to make way for the new building extending out from 38 Cable Street.
The front of the new building incorporates a stone arch dating back to 1868 and bearing the name of St John’s National School, which was once based close to the site.
Phase Three was the final stage of work, and included landscaping and planting appropriate to the city centre location.
Once completed, the new combined station will accommodate two fire engines (one full and one part-time), seven ambulances and rapid response vehicles.
The North West Blood Bikes Lancashire and Lakes team will also be based at the site.
Inside the refurbished and redesigned 38 Cable Street are the main offices for the station.
A Northern Admin Hub is housed in the building, where staff assist with the running of all fire stations in the area.
The building also includes offices, a training room and gym for both fire and ambulance staff, along with a shared dining and seating area.
While the fire crews have continued to operate from the Cable Street site throughout the work, Lancaster’s ambulance service has remained operational from its base in Langdale Road, and will move in to the new hub towards the end of work being completed.
Rod Steele, Lancashire Fire’s service delivery manager for Lancaster, Carnforth and Hornby, said the design of the facility was unique in the county.
“This is the first and only purpose-built integrated fire and ambulance station in Lancashire,” he said.
“It has been very fluid to make it work. We won’t really know until we are all physically on site if it has worked.
“But the management are very positive about making it work, and the integration will work across all levels.
“We are already working together as part of the project team so we have already established a relationship that will filter down to all levels.
“The closer relationship will help to create synergy between the two teams.”
The fire service in Lancaster currently has 68 firefighters, including a retained team, who work across four shifts – Red, Blue, Green and White Watch.
A new appliance room houses the engines and equipment, while the centre also has a pole drop, wash rooms and study rooms for the fire crews.
Outside is a large area for drills, although the crews are encouraged to go out into the community as much as possible for more realistic practice.
In a bid to make the new station as green as possible, cycle sheds have been included along with shower and changing facilities.
There are also charging points for electric cars.
In line with the station’s new name, the hub features rooms which can be used for free by the local community and Prince’s Trust.
“We are keen to say that it’s for the community and will be a community hub,” SDM Steele said.
“This will make us quite unique within Lancashire.
“We are open to any type of community group using the space.
“By integrating with the community more we are doing more fire prevention work.
“It gives us a foot in the door into helping the community.
“If people can come in and see the internal face of the service as well, then it helps us to engage with the community more.
“If we can get our message out there about keeping people safe in their homes then we are doing our job.”
*An open day is being held at the new station this Saturday, September 29, between 10am and 4pm, to give local residents the chance to see for themselves the work that has been going on.
The family fun day will include activities for children as well as guided tours of the new facility.