Vehicle safety checks and The Fire Fighters Charity car wash events

 Guidance for Fire and Rescue Services that wish to incoparate tyre safety check as part of var wash events in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity can be read below. A version of this guidance is also available to download

  Vehicle safety checks are part of The FireFighters Charity war wash events (PDF)


In 2017 the idea of using the Fire Fighters Charity (FFC) car wash events to not only raise money but to provide road and tyre safety advice was discussed. The aim was to not only ensure donations to the FFC were maintained but direct engagement and advice would ensure FRSs could make the communities they serve safer.


A trial by Highways England (HE) now named National Highways (NH), Lancashire and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Services in the spring of 2018 proved successful. An expansion of the trial was agreed for the autumn and once again there were positive results. Donations at the events improved or remained at an expected level, and feedback from members of the public was all positive, even from those who were advised their tyres needed changing straight away.


It was proven that people were not put off by the offer of a safety check, quite the contrary with people coming specifically to ask for it. It was seen by all as a very valuable add on to an event that would be taking place anyway, so a great opportunity to promote safety messages in the process.


This toolkit provides advice and guidance as to how to set up an event in your FRS. It advises how to match your available resources via a resourcing model and considers if the location is suitable for vehicle checks to be implemented.


This is a NFCC promoted model, however it is down to your individual FRS if you would like to run an event – it is not mandatory.

Aims & Objectives


The aim of the Fire Fighters Charity car wash incorporating vehicle safety checks is to add an extra element to the current car wash, which allows further engagement with our communities whilst making them safer.


  • Offer the attendees the option of getting their tyres checked using tyre thread depth checker or manual gauge 
  • Offer relevant advice based on the result of the check
  • Give out more general tyre safety advice such as how to perform their own checks and how often they should be done.
Tyre kit options

Handheld scanner

Electronic handheld scanners are available, a rough cost including warranty and printer and 8” tablet is in the region of £2,875.

If this is an option that your FRS is interested in it’s worth discussing with colleagues via NFCC’s workplace Road Safety Group.

Manual tyre gauges

Manual tread depth checker: Widely available on the internet costing approximately £3

manual 3

Digital tread depth checker: Widely available on the internet costing approximately £7

manual 7

Of course, a simple and cheap way to check tyre tread depth is by using a 20p coin.

20p care check

Other vehicle checks

Highways England has produced 5 step by step guides on checking your vehicle.

You can use these as guides, or they could be playing on a screen if you have access to that facility.

Tyre Pressure

Screen Wash

Tyre Thead



Event to do list 

Some points below which you may wish to consider when organising your event.

Planning for the event

 Appoint event organisers

 Agree dates for events

 Inform the Fire Fighters Charity of event

 Establish what budget and resources are available including staff/volunteers

 Discuss/agree with partners

Ahead of the event

 Confirm all event dates and venues

 Inform communication team and develop infographics and leaflets

 Order any promotional materials

   Advise social media team and develop and communications plan (include discussion on   model release forms for use on social media and future promotional materials)

  Risk assessments

 Ensure public and employee liability insurance is in place

 Design evaluation survey and agree how this will be delivered

 Signing in sheet for the day

After the event

 Review evaluation result and gather lessons learnt feedback    

 Produce lesson learnt report                  

 Post-event de-brief

 Send post event thank you email 

Layout format 

Below is an example recommended layout of a charity car wash.

fire station layout for tyre checks

Layout of your event

Size of Fire Station

Layout for checking


Volunteers required


2 or more bays with front and rear access.

With this layout it is possible to check cars on their way out, having 2 bays open clearly sign posted for opt in or opt out of tyre checks. This will ensure people are not queuing when their car has been washed unless they wish to have it checked. 

large station image



1 or 2 bays with no drive through access of appliance bay.

A good time to catch people as they are queuing in a large circle around the back of a station is whilst they are waiting to be washed as long as there is sufficient tyre checkers available.

Alternatively, when the car has been washed creating a separate holding area where cars can pull into to be checked should they wish.

medium fire station image



1 bay with no drive through access

Consider if this is a suitable station to hoist a car wash with the vehicle checks as an add on. It is imperative that cars do not end up queuing into the road or causing an obstruction.

small station image


Points to consider

It is not appropriate to have a mobile commercial tyre fitting firm on site ready to fit should someone have illegal / borderline tyres.

Likewise, we should not be handing out information about individual suppliers.

Staffing options

The options listed below are suggestions and individual stations / FRS should staff as they see appropriate.


It is important that the individuals carrying out the checks have a good knowledge of tyre safety and what they are measuring / defects they are checking for. It is important they understand why these defects are a cause for concern and how they may contribute to a RTC. The individuals need to be confident to point out any issues they spot to the driver in a professional manner, remembering the information we give is only advisory, not enforceable.


Highways England are committed to working with FRS to promote tyre safety and are happy to support events where staffing permits. A list of regional contacts is available in this pack.


Suggestions for staffing:

  • Fire Fighters
  • Green book Community Safety Advisors
  • Support Staff
  • Princes Trust
  • Fire Cadets
  • Volunteers


When young people (Princes Trust or Fire Cadets) are assisting at events they should be led by an appropriate adult / member of staff.  Refer to your own risk assessment around engaging with children and young people.

Car wash and COVID-19 secure measures

If the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and changes to future government guidance are made you may need to review events. In the past the pandemic meant most events had to be cancelled but it is important we look to keep car washes running to provide vital funds for the Firefighters Charity and offer a tyre safety checks to help keep people safe on the roads.

If social distancing is required during tyre safety checks the ‘Manual Tyre Form’ (see example on page 12) is to be filled out by staff and then passed to the occupier along with any other relevant literature. They must NOT be invited to check their tyres alongside a staff member.

There is a separate risk assessment with the biggest changes being the way people donate. An example of a covid secure risk assessment

Patrons are encouraged to donate via text, there are posters available in this pack to display so they know how to do this. It is also important that they remain in their car at all times and volunteers are not to assist. Within the pack there are posters that can be used to display key points of the car wash and complement the risk assessment.

Car wash poster ideasQR code donation poster

Prior to the event commencing a safety brief should be carried out and a briefing form filled in. An example of briefing form


Evaluation could include:

  • number of cars attended
  • number of cars checked
  • number of cars which refused offer of intervention
  • number of items of information given out
  • social media activity around the event
  • qualitative comments from customers
Regional Safety Coordinators

You can contact your local regional safety coordinator to see if they have a spare tyre tread reader


Lorraine Willis – Regional Safety Co-ordinator, East
Highways England | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW
0300 470 5016

Lisa Scott - Regional Road Safety Co-ordinator, North West
Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD
0300 470 6110

Bev Hannah - Regional Road Safety Coordinator, South West

Highways England | Ash House | Falcon Road, Sowton Ind. Estate | Exeter | EX2 7LB
0300 470 4382 / 07712 542024

Sarah Watson-Quirk - Regional Safety Co-ordinator, North East
Highways England | Lateral | 8 City Walk | Leeds | LS11 9AT

0300 470 2611 / 07823 537678

Wayne Norris - Regional Safety Co-ordinator, Midlands

Highways England | Cube | 199 Wharfside Street | Birmingham | B1 1RN

0300 470 3266 / 07786 006677

Colin Evans - Regional Road Safety Co-ordinator, South East

Highways England | Bridge House | 1 Walnut Tree Close | Guildford | GU1 4LZ

0300 470 4081 / 07925 894330

Regional Media Relations Managers






Harry Bellew

07591 947 112


Jack Tappin

07702 152 476


Diane Davies



Mark Round

07713 706 762

North West

David Harris

07525 922 456

North West

Neil Sterio

07917 266 779

South East

Howard Rhoades

07714 841 722

South East

Richard Starkey

07712 698 434

South West

Neville Smith

07740 422 828

South West

Nicola Wesson

07712 542 050

South West

Rachel Whitelock

07770 544 608

Yorkshire/North East

Chris Lynham

07540 705 142

Yorkshire/North East

Andy Rudkin


Publicity material example

This material can be used as a pull up for the event or as a leaflet to take away, it is a good engagement tool when talking to the public about tyres. Here is an example from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Event tyre evaluation template

Template example

Condition of Tyre

Number of Vehicles (Tally)



Above 2mm




Less than 1.6 mm


Total number of cars checked : 

Example of photography form

Here is an example of Highways England model release form , your FRS communications team can advise on an forms for your service.

Facilitator's brief
Car wash fundraising event notification form
Example of manual tyre form