Salvation Army volunteers viewed the new Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service welfare pod before its deployment as at emergency incidents in the region.
The new vehicle, unveiled at Bridgewater Salvation Army in Moorland Road (Saturday 29 September) is one part of a national response where The Salvation Army Red Shield Emergency Services offer a place of safety for those who have been evacuated from their homes; trained personnel to provide immediate and ongoing support; and a fleet of purpose built mobile canteen units which are equipped in order to be self sufficient at the incident site. These mobile units, which are based across the UK, provide both practical and emotional support to emergency services personnel at fires and major incidents
For nearly 40 years, volunteers from The Salvation Army, Bridgwater, have been available day or night to respond to requests for the catering support of Somerset Fire Service, then subsequently Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. For the past 15 years this service has been provided in a vehicle belonging to the fire service. This support has led to volunteers of The Salvation Army, Bridgwater, being present at many of the major incidents that have taken place within the county of Somerset.
The old catering vehicle needed replacing resulting having clocked up more than 92,000 miles as a fire service vehicle.After extensive development by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, in consultation with Bridgwater Salvation Army the first of a series of welfare pods will be introduced into service in October 2012. These pods will not only provide a modern kitchen, but toilet facilities as well as a rest area for fire service personnel during their break.
The Salvation Army will have the use of a fire service Crew Van for the transportation of personnel and supplies to and from any incidents when requested by fire crews. The welfare pod will be transported to the incident on the back of a lorry by fire service personnel based at Burnham-on-Sea.
As part of the training, in preparation for the launch, Major Neil Davies, corps officer of The Salvation Army in Bridgwater, arranged with Station Commander Ian Hazelton (DSFRS Burnham) for the welfare pod to be brought to The Salvation Army in Bridgwater so that the volunteers can familiarise themselves with the new facilities. Throughout the preparation period, recognition was been given by fire service personnel of the support that had been provided by The Salvation Army in providing food for their personnel. This development has ensured that this support will continue for the foreseeable future.