Emergency vehicle supports 999 workers during spate of fires

published on 2 Aug 2023

Emergency response North East

The Salvation Army has been supporting firefighters during a recent spate of fires across the North East of England.

The church and charity’s Emergency Response Vehicle provides hot drinks, food and a listening ear to 999 workers while they attend emergencies.

In the past few weeks, the vehicle has supported Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue workers at:

  • A large fire involving a Grade II listed former university accommodation building in the Heaton area of Newcastle.  At the height of the fire there were more than 50 firefighters and other personnel on site. 
  • A wildfire in the Prestwick area of Newcastle, which went on for a number of days. Due to the difficulty in gaining access to the main area, British Red Cross volunteers helped carry food and drinks from the van to fire crews. 
  • A large derelict building fire in the centre of Newcastle. At its height there were 50 firefighters at the scene along with police and ambulance crews.
  • A large fire at an industrial estate in Jarrow involving 50 firefighters.
Emergency response North East

The Salvation Army’s Julie Judson, who is a Chaplain for Swan Lodge Lifehouse in Sunderland and for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, said: “It’s a privilege to offer our support and emergency crews always appreciate our response.  Many say to us that we are the vehicle they look for first when on scene. 

“We not only respond with food and drinks, we respond with prayer too – praying for a safe outcome for all involved. We are also a listening ear to our hero first responders.”

Later this year, the Emergency Response Vehicle will also be present at the Great North Run offering drinks and sandwiches to spectators and runners as they finish the race.

It will also be taking part in training exercises with emergency services.

Emergency response North East

Major Stephen Slade, Divisional Emergency Services Co-ordinator for the North East, said: “It has been a busy few weeks for volunteers with our Emergency Services Vehicle which has been supporting firefighters as they tackled some really challenging fires.

“Emergency workers have a really tough job and we’re pleased to be able to offer help where we can. We’re also grateful for the support of our officers, staff, volunteers and donors, who ensure we can deliver this service.”

The Salvation Army has a memorandum of understanding with both Tyne and Wear and Northumbria Fire and Rescue.

Across the UK, the church and charity has 25 response vehicles, which attend around 300 to 350 incidents each year.

two teenage girls having breakfast at a Salvation Army summer camp.

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