Following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in September 2001, the UK government enhanced the capability of the Fire and Rescue services by launching its New Dimension. This resulted in the provision of some specialist vehicles and capabilities across the country. Once the project concluded, these specialist capabilities became known as the National Resilience assets and in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, we have the following specialist capabilities:
- Detection Identification and Monitoring (DIM) - The ability to identify chemicals and other substances that may be encountered at incidents involving hazardous materials.
- Mass Decontamination (MD) - The means to wash contaminants from members of the public and emergency responders on a large scale.
- Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) - Involves providing response to incidents involving buildings that have or may collapse as well as incidents involving transport such as aircraft, trains and heavy good vehicles.
- High Volume Pump - The ability to move large amounts of water from one location to another. Particularly useful as part of flood response.
- Flood Response - Personnel and boats that provide search and rescue capability during large scale urban flood events.
- Marauding Terrorist Attack (MTA) - Providing casualty evacuation and firefighting capability to incidents resulting from a deliberate, terrorist motivated attack.
Each of these capabilities has specific vehicles and/or modules that carry the equipment required to provide the associated response. Personnel across identified stations in Merseyside are trained in the use of this equipment and as a result has the ability to provide response to incidents whether they are local, regional or national in nature.
The National Resilience Assurance Team (NRAT) is a group of officers seconded from their own Fire and Rescue services who are tasked to look after each of these capabilities on a national level.
MFRS have a designated officer who acts as the link between the Service and NRAT. This officer is responsible for ensuring the vehicles and equipment are maintained and that MFRS personnel are suitably trained. They also provide relevant information as required across the service.