Heavy Rescue Tender (HRT)

You may not know what a heavy rescue vehicle is, or you may wonder how much water one carries. Whether you know lots or little about a Heavy Rescue Tender (HRT), you'll be sure to find out more here!

What an HRT is

The HRT is designed to deliver additional and specialist Road Traffic Collison (RTC) equipment to incidents. The equipment it provides is there to support what's already carried as standard by appliances. 

As well as this, they also carry wheels, axles and platforms that can quickly be made up into sleds. These sleds are capable of running on main railway lines, so bulky rescue equipment can be transported to less accessible locations in the event of a rail crash.

What it looks like


Where it's used

There are currently four HRTs in service. These are based at Glastonbury, Yeovil, Taunton and Middlemoor (Exeter).

They are in these locations for two reasons. Firstly, so that they can be close to the major road arteries entering and leaving the two counties. Secondly, to cover important road junctions within the counties.

How it's maintained

All vehicles and their equipment are maintained by the Fleet Maintenance team, who are based at one of four workshops throughout the two counties. 

The only exceptions to this are the vehicle's communications systems (radio or mobile data links) which are maintained by the Communications department, which is based at Service Headquarters.

The main winch is also inspected annually by a qualified external contractor. This is to ensure compliance with legislation (LOLER).


People who crew the vehicle

An OIC (which stands for Officer-In-Charge), a driver and one other member of the crew.

Operators are supported by the crew members from other attending fire appliances.


Equipment on the vehicle

  • The vehicle is fitted and driven by a heavy-duty winch. When used at the front of the vehicle, it provides a single line pulling power of 3.5 tonnes. When used at the back, it provides 7 tonnes.
  • Roof mounted high-intensity flood and spotlights. These provide scene lighting on the areas immediately around the vehicle when at a roadside location.  
  • A wide range of RTC equipment, jacking, access and stabilising tools and access platforms for working at height.

The different types

  • Mercedes/Saxon.







2.72m (2.4m with the windows closed).




Gross weight


14 tonnes.