Wrexham’s Ambulance and Fire Services Resource Centre officially openedPosted
WREXHAM’S new state-of-the-art Ambulance and Fire Services Resource Centre (AFSRC) was officially opened today.
The Welsh Ambulance Service, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Government have invested more than £15 million in the facility which was formally opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething AM, and Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM.
The purpose-built AFSRC, which is the first of its kind in Wales, boasts an eight-bay fire station, a six-bay ambulance station, a make ready facility and fleet workshop plus ultramodern training facilities.
Crews have been reporting for duty from the Croesnewydd Road facility since April, but today was its official unveiling.
Mr Gething said: “I’m delighted to formally open this centre. We have provided £8.4m of Welsh Government funding for this centre so that fire and ambulance professionals can work together to improve the services they provide.
“It’s great to see this centre up and running and serving the people of Wrexham and surrounding areas.
“We want to build on collaborations such as this one to further develop the role of firefighters to support the NHS.
“This includes helping reduce hazards in the home, conveying public safety messages and responding to some medical emergencies directly.”
Mr Sargeant added: “This centre is an excellent example of what can be achieved when public services work together.
“The fire and ambulance services have much in common, and often respond to the same life threatening emergencies.
“They know best what it takes to save life, and how they can help each other to do just that.
“Housing them in the same centre means they can share expertise and experience and make the most of their similarities to keep people and communities safe.
“The centre is part of our vision for closer working between the fire and health services. We’ve announced a simple set of priorities that will help focus this work on the areas of greatest health benefit, whilst building on existing firefighter skills.”
The AFSRC has replaced the former fire station on Bradley Road in Wrexham, and the former ambulance stations in Chirk and Wrexham.
The ambulance accommodation incorporates a fleet workshop, make ready facility, six-bay garage, offices for fleet staff and management, debrief room and a deployment base for response staff.
The fire accommodation includes a local community safety office, an eight-bay garage, gymnasium, training house and drill tower with a road traffic collision training area.
Facilities like the rest room, dining room, communal kitchen, main office, locker room, meeting and training rooms are shared by both services.
Mick Giannasi, Chairman of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We are delighted that not one but two Cabinet Secretaries are here to unveil this new facility, which crews have been taking advantage of since April.
“This development provides the modern and upgraded services that our crews deserve, and thus is improving the service we provide for people in and around Wrexham.
“It also presents the perfect opportunity to work more closely with our fire service colleagues, with whom we already have an excellent working relationship and attend many incidents together.”
Cllr Meirick Lloyd Davies, Chair of North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, welcomed everyone to the centre for the event, saying: “Operating from one base allows greater co-ordination when it comes to responding to incidents and makes the best use of resources for both of organisations.
“The resource centre delivers both improved facilities for our staff and a better service for the public in the area.
“Staff from both organisations have been working alongside each other for a number of months now.
“I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to celebrate the official opening of this groundbreaking facility, which represents the culmination of a long process of planning, construction and development.”
The facility was built by BAM Construction over an 18-month period.
Ged Flanagan, Construction Director from BAM, said: “We are delighted to have delivered Wales’ first joint ambulance and fire services facility and even more so to hear that it is giving the ambulance and fire crews what they need to provide a great service to people in Wrexham.”