A fire bike is a motorcycle used by a fire department. Several countries around the world use fire bikes, often to beat traffic congestion, and the equipment carried ranges from simple extinguishers to jet guns with hose rigs. Firefighters also use fire bikes to offer medical treatment. In the United Kingdom, fire bikes are used by some fire services in road safety awareness campaigns.
The São Paulo Fire Department of Brazil use teams of two fire bikes to bring down first response times to fire or medical emergencies in the congested streets of São Paulo from 10–15 minutes to just 5 minutes. Their bikes are 400cc machines, and carry basic emergency medical services (EMS) equipment, tools, signalling devices, and other accessories, such as hand lights and elevator keys.
Fire bikes are used in Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong Fire Services Department's website, "Fire Motorcycles (F.M.C.) are special fire appliances developed by Firexpress A/S in Denmark to provide rapid response and to carry out fire fighting operation". They are using BMWR1100RT as their fire bikes.
In Japan, the Tokyo Fire Department uses pairs of motorcycle units nicknamed "Quick Attackers" for fire-fighting, rescue and medical first aid treatment. The units comprise two 200cc bikes operating - a 'type T' unit is equipped with a portable impulse fire extinguishing system, while a 'type U' unit carries simple rescue equipment and fire extinguishers. As of 2001, 20 Quick Attacker teams were in service. With Japan having a long history of earthquakes, Quick Attacker units are capable of off-road response and are also used for rapid fact-finding in earthquake and other disaster zones.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force introduced fire bikes in 1998, in order to combat increasing traffic congestion which delays ordinary fire appliances, with response time being a critical factor in preventing the spread of fires in the high-rise residential blocks of the urban island state. The force operates two-man fire bike teams manned by junior officers. They are usually the first to arrive at the scene of a fire, and if necessary, will enter a premises to fight or prevent the spread of a fire. The riders are equipped with impulse guns, which can fire powerful bursts of water mist at speeds of up to 200 metres per second.
In the United Kingdom, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has operated a number of fire bikes in different roles since 2005. In July 2010 they became the first service in the UK to deploy fire bikes specially equipped to fight fires. The two BMW R1200RT trial bikes are fitted with two 25-litre (6.6 US gal) canisters filled with water and foam and a high powered 30-metre (98 ft) long jet hose. They are to be used to combat small fires to free up main fire appliances. They are to undergo a six-month trial, with the prospect of being adopted by other forces if found to be effective. Since 2005, Merseyside had been using a fire bike to attend automated fire alarm calls in Liverpool to assess situations ahead of the arrival of main appliances, due to rising traffic congestion and because most of these automated calls are false alarms. In 2007, Merseyside also introduced two Honda quad-bikes for fire safety awareness campaigns, and possibly for operational use to fight woodland or grass fires.
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