Robot comes to aid of fire crew at depot blaze
October 06, 2009
Firefighters enlisted the help of a robot to dramatically reduce the time spent dealing with a fire at a Wokingham industrial estate.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service used the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to handle the acetylene cylinder at Toutley Depot in Old Forest Road, which had caught fire while a worker used it for welding.
Standard operational procedure would have meant a 200-metre cordon being set up for 24 hours, which would have meant closing Toutley Depot, the A329 and evacuating some residents.
The fire crew was called to the incident at 12.45pm on Thursday, September 24.
By sending the ROV into the workshop the crews could receive vital information about the incident without putting themselves in danger.
The ROV has in-built specialist tools, including a thermal imaging camera and filming equipment, which allows firefighters to assess the situation from a safe distance.
The ROV found the cylinder was cool and operators then turned off the valve using a spanner attached to the robot.
Station manager Jess James, from Caversham Road station, said: “Using the ROV meant that we could deal with the incident in around three-and-a-half hours, rather than the 24 hours it would traditionally take.
“This not only means that the premises could be handed back to the owners in a shorter space of time, but also that fire crews are freed up more quickly and are available to attend other incidents.”