Firefighters and paramedics are now working side-by-side in their new state-of-the-art community station.
Staff from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service (GMFRS) are settling into their new home at Wigan Community Fire And Ambulance Station, in Newtown.
Firefighters moved into the Robin Park Road hub in June and were joined last week by 150 ambulance staff.
They are now sharing facilities for the first time, including the meeting rooms, rest area, kitchen and dining area, and locker rooms.
The new development will allow the ambulance service to work in a new way.
The ambulance stations in Wigan, Standish, Hindley, Atherton and Billinge have all closed and staff will primarily be based at the new hub.
However, they will spread out across the borough during their shift to the areas where they are needed.
Ambulances will go to “spoke sites” - mainly fire stations - to use as standby points when necessary, rather than returning to Wigan.
Matt Calderbank, the ambulance service’s Wigan operations manage, said: “Wigan Community Fire And Ambulance Station is a flagship building which has been specially designed for joint working between GMFRS and NWAS. Both services regularly respond to emergencies together and operating from the same station allows them to improve that relationship, ultimately benefitting the patients we attend.
“I’m also excited that the first hub and spoke station of its kind in the North West has been brought to Wigan and it will mean that we can provide improved clinical care to patients ensuring they receive the right care at the right time and right place.”
Paramedics and firefighters have been involved in the building since the design stages, so it has improved facilities for staff learning, training and downtime.
It will also allow the paramedics and technicians in Wigan to work with members of the community to promote health and well-being.
Assistant county fire officer Geoff Harris said: “It is great news that ambulance service staff have now joined firefighters at the brand new community fire and ambulance station in Wigan – meaning we can further improve our relationship with NWAS as well as make financial savings over the years, similarly to the projects in Irlam and at our Philips Park and Whitefield sites, which already see fire and ambulance work together.
“As well as GMFRS and NWAS staff members benefiting from the fantastic new station, members of the community can now book the new community room via Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service’s website.”
The station will be officially opened in October, when guests will be able to tour the building and meet members of staff.