North West safety centre officially opened by The Princess Royal

05 October 2018

North West safety centre officially opened by The Princess Royal

ISG’s £7.8 million project for Cheshire Fire and Rescue, which incorporates a community fire station and interactive safety centre in Lymm, was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal in September. 

Completed in 2017, Safety Central brings safety and life skills topics to life through sensory tours, helping people from all walks of life, young and old, to stay safe.

Cheshire Fire Authority funded the running costs of Safety Central, which means that visits by schools and community groups are offered free of charge.

Learning takes place in a series of purpose-built indoor scenarios, designed to be realistic, immersive and interactive, including:

• Safer Choices: a series of immersive scenarios encouraging people to think about the impact of their decisions, including a police custody suite and cell, courtroom, convenience store and a space for learning about online safety and healthy lifestyles.

• Safe as Houses: a full-size three-bedroom family home, shed and garden all rigged to not only demonstrate the most common causes of accidents, but also technologies to help prevent injury and promote independence.

• Streetsafe: a dramatic urban environment complete with a road, bridge, toucan crossing, cycle path, railway station, park, canalside, alleyway, building site and substation.

• Ruralrisk: recreating Cheshire’s great outdoors, indoors – this zone highlights hidden dangers in the open countryside, forest and lakes, on farms and rural roads.

Delivered for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, the centre is supported by Cheshire Fire staff and a team of volunteer rangers. 

Attached to the facility is a working fire station, which has five engine bays, office and staff space, a yard and a fire training tower. 

There is also an advanced indoor training facility.

Construction took place between February 2016 and March 2017, with ISG undertaking the design and build, and specialist fit-out company, Paragon Creative, delivering the internals for the learning environment.

The challenging build saw ISG project manager, Steve Lowton, oversee construction of the 13,500 sq m facility, designed in the shape of a question mark. 

“Safety Central is one of the only facilities like this in the country – it was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” he said.

“I was incredibly lucky to meet Her Royal Highness and hear some of the great things that Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, the local community, school children and the centre’s rangers had to say about the project one year on from handover.” 

Cllr Bob Rudd, chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, added: “Cheshire Fire Authority is extremely proud of the facility, which will help people to stay safe and keep healthy. 

“We know from our work trying to keep communities safe from fire that some people are more at risk than others. 

“That’s why we worked closely with our friends and colleagues in the NHS, the police, councils, housing and lots of other agencies to bring Safety Central to life.”