A REVOLUTIONARY firefighting hose which can blast water through concrete and steel is being deployed in Scotland for the first time and is bound for North Berwick Fire Station.

The Ultra-High Pressure Lance (UHPL) will feature as part of a new Rapid Response Unit due to be operational in the town next month.

The hose is being introduced as part of a new fleet of 40 vehicles introduced across Scotland this year.

Firefighters based in North Berwick have already undergone training to use the high tech equipment, which is designed to pierce through solid material to get to small fires without endangering firefighters.

Steve Gourlay, Scottish Fire and Rescue area commander for East Lothian, Midlothian and Scottish Borders, said the new lance was one of a number of tools on the new unit.

But he said it offered an innovative way to make the job safer for firefighters.

He said: “If you have a car on fire and it started in the bonnet, a firefighter would have to put on breathing apparatus to pop the bonnet.

“The lance can pierce through. It can go through a concrete wall and easily go through a car.”

The Rapid Response Unit (RRU) will also carry a thermal imaging camera which helps pinpoint the source of a fire and record its temperature, and a pressure fan which can drive smoke out of a building.

The new vehicles have been rolled out this year across the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service  and cost about £195,000 each.

Mr Gourlay said he was delighted North Berwick had been chosen as one of the sites for the new units.

The station currently has two appliances and 13 retained firefighters.

Mr Gourlay said the new fleet of specialist RRUs represented a £7.6million investment in the safety of Scotland’s most diverse and rural communities.

He said: “I am delighted that our North Berwick station is amongst those volunteer and RDS [retained] stations across Scotland to receive one of these vehicles.

“These vehicles carry Ultra High Pressure Lances, introduced to Scotland for the first time.

“The new fire engines can carry up to four firefighters, are more agile than their traditional counterparts, and have also been designed to meet the very precise needs of Scotland’s most rural areas, including at North Berwick.”