Jul 24, 2022 | UK News

Health Minister Robin Swann pictured with Cllr Robert Irvine, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Board, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Aidan Jennings, and Liam Murphy, Site Manager of Newry contractors Felix O’Hare and Co Ltd.

The first sod of the £42.5m final phase of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Learning and Development Centre near Cookstown was cut recently by Health Minister Robin Swann.

Work on the fine phase of the Northern Ireland Executive flagship project is expected to be completed in 2024. It represents the largest capital build in NIFRS history. The facilities will revolutionise how NIFRS trains and develops its people to protect everyone in Northern Ireland. 

The ambitious plans for Phase 2 include the building of a specialist driving and road traffic collision training area, a training environment for collapsed buildings and below ground rescue, a flood water rescue training facility, an academic building, mock fire station, ship and a “call out village” which will include a bungalow, semi-detached dwelling and a detached dwelling.

This site will provide firefighters with scenario-based realistic and repeatable training experiences to ensure they are well prepared to deal with all real-life incidents. The completion of the final phase of the project is expected in two years and will complement the existing Tactical Firefighting Facility on the site, which has been in operation since September 2019.