Salvation Army launches two new Incident Response Vehicles in London

published on 11 Oct 2019

Team standing next to emergency response vehicles

The Salvation Army has unveiled two new state-of-the-art vehicles to respond to emergencies across London.  Leaders of the church and charity met with London Fire Brigade this week to launch the distinctive red vans, which provide refreshments for crews when they are dealing with urgent situations.

The Salvation Army has a long history of supporting communities in times of need and has worked closely with London Fire Brigade for more than 35 years attending incidents where eight or more fire engines are deployed.  The two identical bespoke vans have been designed and built to operate as mobile canteens and will operate within the M25 area.  They will ensure The Salvation Army can continue providing on-site food and drink alongside pastoral support to emergency responders. 

Major Karl Gray is The Salvation Army’s pan-London emergency services co-ordinator and has been part of the emergency response at major incidents in recent years including the Grenfell Tower Fire, the Croydon tram crash and terrorist incidents. 

Major Karl Gray said: “The Salvation Army is here to provide practical and spiritual help to those in need. We see our support for emergency personnel and local communities at emergencies as a vital part of our work.” 

Lieutenant Colonel David Shakespeare, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander in North London, said: “The dedication of our volunteers and officers in responding to emergencies is one of The Salvation Army’s assets. They respond at any time of the day or night supporting London Fire Brigade and communities across London.

The new vans were launched at Shoreditch Fire Station, where one will be based with the other at  Acton Fire Station with a third van located in Bexleyheath, south east London.  The Bexleyheath van will be replaced with a new van, identical to the other two, by spring 2020 providing an entirely new fleet across the capital.  Similar Incident Response Vans are located in other parts of the United Kingdom, served by teams of volunteers supporting their local communities. 

London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Commissioner, Safety and Assurance, Richard Mills, said: “The Salvation Army has worked with London Fire Brigade for many years and we are delighted that two new vehicles will support our firefighters and other emergency services at large incidents across London.

“It’s an important tradition for staff and everybody loves to see the canteen van turn up at an incident. It’s not just about the refreshments - the volunteers always come with a smile whatever time of day and it gives crews the chance to take a well-deserved break from the incident for a couple of minutes and recharge with a hot drink, a snack and a chat if they need it.”