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Consultation on the proposed removal of the Water Rescue Unit from Matlock Fire Station


As part of Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017 – 21, a review was undertaken on special appliances in 2017/18. The review was to ensure that the number and location of specialist capability provision was right for the risks within Derbyshire in line with the plan. Although located at particular fire stations, they are first and foremost a county-wide resource.

Information on the progress and proposals of the review are available as part of the Fire Authority Report September 2017 & Fire Authority Report February 2018.

There has been a reduction in the number of incidents for both traditional fire engines and special appliances – for the purpose of the reports, a six year period of incident data was analysed and used within the reports (2011/12 – 2016/17).

What is the current situation?

One of the special appliances is the Water Rescue Unit of which there are 4 based at Derby, Chesterfield, Matlock and Buxton Fire Stations. Water Rescue Units provide enhanced capabilities for more complicated incident types, such as large scale flooding. However this additional capability is often not required within Derbyshire due to the nature of the risks within the county.

What is the Service proposing to change?

The outcome of the review identified an over-provision of Water Rescue Units within the county, based on the analysis of a range of information including the number of times it was actually used at an incident. The evidence suggests that the risk within the county does not exist to maintain 4 Water Rescue Units. Therefore it is proposed that the Water Rescue Unit based at Matlock Fire Station be removed.

If the Water Rescue Unit is removed, personnel from Matlock will still be trained and have equipment to undertake rescues from water and will be supported by specialist units within the county.

Why is the Service proposing to do this?

Over the period 2011/12 – 2017/18 there has been an overall decrease in the number of incidents that Matlock’s Water Rescue Unit has attended. In 2017/18 the Unit attended just 5 incidents.

Derbyshire is part of a Tri-Service region with Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Fire Services and the water risks in all 3 counties are deemed to be similar. Nottinghamshire operates with 2 Water Rescue Units and Leicestershire operates with one. This supports the evidence that 4 Water Rescue Units within Derbyshire is an over-provision.


Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is proposing to remove the Water Rescue Unit from Matlock Fire Station, leaving two Water Rescue Units based at Kingsway (Derby) and Buxton Fire Stations. This proposal has been made to match resources to actual risk and allow the continued provision of an efficient, sustainable emergency service.  

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service  welcome your views on the proposal and will use your feedback to assist us in making the decision which will be considered by the Fire & Rescue Authority in September 2018, the reports for which will be available on our website HERE.

Please click on this link to take you through to the form where you can leave your comments.

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