MOBILE FIRE COLUMN: United Kingdom. 1949-1968.  Operational concept for the employment of the Auxiliary Fire Service in wartime.  Scenarios for nuclear war confronted British fire planners with the difficult problem of fighting large scale fires in predominantly urban target areas in the aftermath of a nuclear attack.  Such attacks would not only destroy the target area, but also the firefighting resources in that area.  To provide a survivable firefighting capability, planning called for 50 percent of local authority red appliances to be withdrawn from their service areas and be combined with Auxiliary Fire Service appliances in relatively safe areas to form self-contained 144 vehicle Mobile Fire Columns.  These Mobile Fire Columns would then advance into the impact areas to suppress mass fires.  The plan was based on the key assumption that a declaration of hostilities or other strategic warning would allow deployment of the local fire brigades and activation of Auxiliary Fire Service resources.

Sources: Mardon, Roger C., "Green Goddess," in Roger C. Mardon, location, accessed 27 July 2003. "'Green Goddesses' Stand By," Heritage Commercials Magazine, Issue Number 155, location, November 2003.  Kirkwood, Graeme, The History of Scottish Fire Brigades, location, accessed 28 July 2003.

Entry 0376 - posted 29 July 2003