Ten fire stations across the two counties have taken delivery of brand new fire engines.

Crews at five stations in Herefordshire and five in Worcestershire are now enjoying the benefits of using the latest additions to the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service fleet.

Each fire engine includes a 3,000-litre water tank, increasing the volume by 40% – and the weight of the fully loaded vehicle to 15 tonnes.

The latest cutting gear and radio systems can be found on each vehicle that is also provided with a 3,000-litre dam, to enable water to be stored while more is collected.

Six cameras around each fire engine give 360 degree CCTV, offering benefits for incident review and driver training.

“It’s a welcome investment in firefighting in the two counties and comes after 12 months of planning,” said Neil Lilwall, the Station Commander at Ross-on-Wye Fire Station who was involved in the design of the new fire engines.

“The crews have much better tools to use for their job and it gives them much greater flexibility.

“It’s a great morale-booster for the staff and for rural firefighting.

“The fact that the pump has got so much more water on-board means that crews can attack a fire with much more confidence while waiting for a water supply to be established.”

“It’s not just a brand-new fire engine, it’s also kitted out with the latest equipment,” said Ledbury’s Station Commander Adrian Thompson.

“It’s a massive step forward.”

“It’s a great commitment to the retained service and the crews are delighted.”

The new Scania appliances have been deployed at Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, Kingsland, Ledbury, Leintwardine, Leominster, Malvern, Ross-on-Wye and Tenbury Wells stations.

Area Commander Guy Palmer said: “This ¬£2.5 million investment demonstrates the commitment from the Fire Authority to deliver a first-class service not only to the communities of Herefordshire and Worcestershire but also to empower our staff with the right tools and equipment to be able to do their job.”