Ground-breaking ceremony at new state-of-the-art training centre | Knutsford Times

Ground-breaking ceremony at new state-of-the-art training centre

By on July 19, 2019

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Fire Authority have marked the start of work to create a state-of-the-art training centre with a ground-breaking ceremony.

On Friday 12 July the first piece of turf was cut at the former headquarters in Sadler Road (known as cutting the sod) to commemorate the start of a new era for firefighter training in Cheshire.

Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority Councillor Bob Rudd joined Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke and representatives from the construction company ISG, who will be constructing the new training centre.

The Service was given the go ahead by Cheshire West and Chester planning committee in March 2019 to build a revolutionary firefighter training centre that will ensure Cheshire’s firefighters have the skills and knowledge to keep residents safe for years to come.

The facilities, which will be among the best in the country, will immerse firefighters in real-life operational situations making them better equipped and skilled to keep the communities of Cheshire and surrounding areas safe.

Firefighters in Cheshire have to be able to deal with a wide range of incidents as the county has a large number of chemical and industrial risks, four major motorway networks, spanning the length and breadth of the county and great swathes of rural areas which present a host of operational hazards and risks.

The new training facility will provide innovative technology and real-life scenario sets, ranging from serious motorway collisions to dealing with building fires and chemical incidents, keeping our firefighters highly skilled and equipped to deal with a myriad of life saving situations.

Cheshire Fire Authority approved the £11 million project after considering the operational benefits that were presented by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service staff.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke said: “We wanted to recognise such a significant moment in the history of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service by cutting the first sod. It marks the exact moment we’ll be committing to giving our firefighters ground-breaking training facilities which will give them realistic scenarios and situations to hone their life-saving skills.

“Not only is this a real boon for our firefighters but also for the communities of Cheshire who rely on our firefighters to keep them safe and be there when they need us the most.

“This incredible facility will be the envy of fire services across the country, and I’m certain that it will further enhance Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s reputation as an innovative, forward-thinking organisation that places huge value in both resident safety and the skill and ability of its firefighters.

Councillor Bob Rudd, said: “These are exciting times for the Service and I am looking forward to seeing the progress as the training centre begins to take shape. This new facility is vital for keeping our firefighters highly skilled using the very best facilities, latest technology and training methods.”

Neil Walker, ISG framework director, commented: “Creating world-class facilities for organisations in the blue light sector is a tangible way that the construction sector can further enhance the operational capabilities and effectiveness of our emergency services. We’re immensely proud to be embarking on our fourth project for the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, through the North West Construction Hub, with this strong partnership helping transform the service’s built environment assets and create strong community hubs of learning and technical excellence.”

About Lucy Thorpe

Lucy Thorpe is a freelance journalist who writes for the Knutsford Times - covering stories and news in and around Cheshire and Greater Manchester. If you've got a story to share, or would like to speak to Lucy, please email

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