North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is to fit Michelin tyres across its 100 heavy fire appliances, mirroring a policy operated by the two other Fire and Rescue Authorities in Wales.
The move marks the service’s first major change in tyre policy for more than 20 years. Its vehicles are used to respond to around 3,200 fires, 500 road traffic collisions and 500 other emergency incidents annually.
Prior to making the decision, Michelin test sets were fitted to three vehicles and a series of stability and braking tests were successfully completed by the brigade’s lead driving instructor under blue-light conditions.
Geraint Jones, Head of Fleet and Engineering for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, says: “The knowledge that so many of my fire service colleagues are already running on Michelin tyres gave us the confidence we were making the right decision – and the tests we have carried out support this.
“We’ve fitted predominantly Michelin tyres to our light vehicles for several years and we’ve always had an excellent relationship with the manufacturer. Steve Jones, one of Michelin’s Technical Managers, has even been out to weigh our heavy appliances and provided us with tailored pressure recommendations to ensure we get the maximum performance from the tyres over a long life.”
Michelin’s technical team supports fleets across the country, carrying specialist equipment which allows them to weigh every axle on a commercial vehicle on-site. They then use this information to determine the optimum pressures for every axle, while considering each customer’s specific needs.
All Michelin tyres are being purchased on a National Procurement Service (NPS) for Wales framework agreement which provides savings for the public sector by negotiating commercial relationships as a single organisation.
The new policy is being introduced across the fleet as wear dictates, with existing fitments moved between appliances to ensure vehicles transition to a full set of Michelin tyres in one go.
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service operates a predominantly 15-tonne Volvo truck fleet and will be fitting Michelin X Multi Z all-position tyres as standard. These stand out for offering long-lasting grip in all weather conditions and on slippery surfaces – featuring 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake markings on the sidewall, following tests in defined snowy conditions.
Tyres will be supplied and fitted by Tructyre ATS, with a small amount of fitment work undertaken by the service’s own in-house workshops. Michelin tyres will also be regrooved once they reach 3.0mm of remaining tread depth, with the regrooved tyres fitted on the drive axle and increasing tyre life by around 25 per cent.
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service provides cover for Gwynedd and Ynys Môn, Conwy and Denbighshire, Wrexham and Flintshire. It is responsible for protecting an estimated population of 678,461 people over an area of 2,400 square miles, plus hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors who come to North Wales every year.