KNUTSFORD and Holmes Chapel could soon welcome two of 13 new ‘rapid response rescue units’ as part of a drive to cut the number of deaths on Cheshire’s roads.

Cheshire Fire Authority is proposing the move in a draft four-year plan which will go out to public consultation next week.

It comes after 46 people died as a result of road traffic collisions across Cheshire in 2018 – more than double the number in 2017, and a trend that the authority says has continued so far in 2019.

The units would mainly be set up in areas where response times for road traffic collisions tend to be slower, Cheshire Fire Authority says.

Each unit would have two firefighters who would respond to road accidents and provide life-saving trauma care to casualties.

They would also carry out work prior to the arrival of fire engines to improve the amount of time it takes to remove a casualty from their vehicle and their chances of survival.

The units would also be tailored to meet local needs – such as carrying water response kits in areas prone to flooding, or wildfire equipment for moorlands.

Vehicles – which would be capable off-road – and equipment are expected to cost around £40,000 for each of the 13 units.

Mark Cashin, chief fire officer, and Cllr Bob Rudd, chairman of Cheshire Fire Authority, penned a joint statement in the draft plan which includes the proposal.

Knutsford Guardian:

From left: Cllr Bob Rudd and Mark Cashin

It says: “This four-year plan will outline how the authority will make Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service better able to meet the challenges and needs of modern societies, embracing new technology and recognising the changing risks within our communities.

“Ultimately, the authority is dedicated to providing the communities of Cheshire with a fire and rescue service that is committed to saving lives, changing lives and protecting lives to achieve its vision of no deaths, injuries or damage from fires or other emergencies.”

Cheshire Fire Authority is also proposing units in Alsager, Audlem, Bollington, Frodsham, Malpas, Middlewich, Nantwich, Poynton, Sandbach, Stockton Heath and Tarporley.

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Meanwhile, the authority also plans to step up preventative measures aimed at cutting the number of crashes on Cheshire’s roads – proposing a new strategic road safety plan that it would draw up with police and local authorities.

The proposals are included in Cheshire Fire Authority’s draft integrated risk management plan for 2020 to 2024, which goes to public consultation from Monday, December 16, to Friday, March 20, 2020.