used to be the



Formed in 1978 (as a result of 17 firefighters being hospitalised in a chemical fire the year before) the Technical Support Team comprised of senior uniformed officers and eight members from Strathclyde Regional Council Chemist's Department and was formed to provide operational firefighters with technical back up as a result of incidents involving chemicals and other hazardous substances. They either proceeded to the incident in the Technical Support Unit, driven by senior officers, or gave advice from the Operations Room at Brigade Headquarters which was equipped with CHEMDATA and a vast library of chemical reference works.
In 1991 the team comprised of 14 flexible duty officers, 3 day duty officers and 8 chemists.
In February 1993 the TSU moved from Brigade Headquarters at Hamilton to Govan Fire Station where it is crewed by 2 wholetime firefighters who drive it to the incident, the chemist and senior officers proceeding to the incident by car.
In 1996 on the reorganisation of Local Government the chemists were transferred to Glasgow Scientific Services under the direction of the City Analyst.
When the Chemical Incident procedure was initiated the Operations Room at Brigade Headquarters would be staffed and if deemed necessary the TSU would go to the incident. Since moving to Govan the TSU has been put onto certain PDA's and is mobilised to incidents involving hazardous materials and on initiation of the Chemical Incident procedure by the OIC at an incident.
The TSU was moved from Govan back to Hamilton Fire Station on the 19th January 2009 and is Dual Crewed by the OIC and driver of the second appliance at Hamilton.
The replacement for the Scania TSU is a Mercedes Atego 15 ton motor and it is now called an Environmental Protection Unit to greater signify its function. It has three compartments, the rear one has the generator in it and is accessed by the doors on the rear of the appliance. Then you have a Command and Control Section accessed by a key pad controlled door on the near side which has removable steps to reach it. The front section is a Scientific Laboratory which is accessed by a key pad controlled door in the Command and Control Section, this section also has an Emergency Exit at the front on the near side.

These are the vehicles which have been used over the years by the TSU :-

1979 KYS916V Fiat Turbozeta/Fulton and Wylie  
1989 F898KYS Mercedes 814D/Scotts/SFB Workshops Photo
1998 R248JGB Scania P94D-220/Fleming and Taylor Photo
2010 SG10CKF Mercedes Atego Rigid 1524L 4x2/Cebotec  




Chemical emergency response is an integral part of Strathclyde Fire Brigade’s response to all emergencies and has been part of our operational procedures since 1978. On average we attend 280 chemical incidents each year.
The unit is based at Station B02 Govan in Central Command and is crewed by wholetime firefighters backed up by our Technical Support Team who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The team consists of Fire Officers and Regional Chemists based in Glasgow.
On receipt of a call the team will either proceed to the Operations Room at Hamilton or go directly to the incident. At the Operations Room the team will produce a ‘package of information’ and relay this to the Officer-in-Charge, and then proceed to the incident to provide on-site chemical analysis and assistance to the Officer-in-Charge.
Since 1978 Strathclyde Fire Brigade has acquired national and international experience in dealing with a wide variety of different and complex hazardous substance incidents.

 The TSU equipment can be broken down into five main areas —

1.             Analytical and detection
2.             Containment and disposal
3.             De-contamination
4.             Supply of information
5.             Communication

Analysis and Detection Equipment
Chemical analysis test kit, minigas meters, methane monitor, asbestos sampling kit and radiation monitoring equipment.

Containment and Disposal
A wide selection of blank caps, bungs, clamps and equipment for sealing leaking drums or pipes.

Includes protective clothing, chemical and gas tight suits, BA sets and equipment for de-contamination.

Supply of Information
Technical information available to fire crews include “Chemdata” information base, Brigade Op/Tech Notes, along with a comprehensive chemical textbook data.

Includes a fax and radio communication equipment, as well as intrinsically safe hand held radio equipment.

(Strathclyde Fire Brigade Technical Support Unit leaflet.)



Pictured right is Strathclyde’s technical support unit, which is mobilized from Govan Fire Station when an incident involving hazardous materials occurs.
It is staffed by a Technical Support Team, which was formed in 1978 and consists of a number of senior officers from brigade HQ and eight chemists from Strathclyde Regional Council’s Chemistry Department
All team members receive specialist training in dealing with hazardous materials accidents.
Last year the team and the well-equipped F registration Mercedes van were called out on 51 occasions and dealt with incidents ranging from a spillage of dye on the roadway to an overturned lorry containing 21 drums of phosphoric acid.
Calls for information were also received from other brigades and from Norway, Spain and Germany.
The van is manned by wholetime firefighters who have received training on the use of the specialised equipment carried. The chemists and senior officers proceed to incidents by car.
An innovative information relay system operates between the personnel on the van and staff at the Technical Support Team’s well-stocked technical library at HQ.
(Fire magazine, Scottish Feature, August 1993. Page 15.)

Environmental Protection Unit

When SFR’s Technical Support Unit was coming to the end of its operating life, SFR Fleet Services took the opportunity to specify a new unit, taking into consideration new working practices/procedures and systems and specified a new vehicle, which was rebranded as the Environmental Protection Unit
The new Environmental Protection Unit forms part of SFR’s response to the threat of CCBRN (Conventional, Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear) incidents that may occur within Strathclyde and its cross-border fire and rescue service areas. The unit provides general mobile laboratory and specific related communication functions for assessing and analysing substances by qualified scientific advisors at operational incidents. The vehicle was built by CEBOTEC of Falkirk and is based on a Mercedes-Benz Atego Rigid l524L 4x2.
(Fire Times Vol. 12 Issue 4, June/July 2010. Page 64. Part of an article by Robert Brown, Technical Support and Logistics Manager, SFR.)


If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.


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