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BRITISH FIREFIGHTER CHALLENGE 2016

On Saturday 30 July a one day event, The British Firefighter Challenge 2016, took place at Jubilee Campus, Nottingham University, raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity. Operational firefighters from all over the world were invited to take part, with over 70 personnel accepting the challenge from countries including Germany, Austria, Croatia and even Kuwait. Representing the English fire and rescue services were Suffolk, London, Merseyside, Humberside, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and ten firefighters from Leicestershire.

Firefighters competed in a series of operational tasks which included; stair running, hauling aloft, forcible entry techniques, hose running, equipment carrying and a casualty rescue. Finishing times ranged from the winning time of 2 minutes and 44 seconds by German competitor Joachim Posanz, to just over 7 minutes.

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John Gregory from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service was the fastest out of all the British male firefighters, finishing in third place overall, with a time of 2 minutes and 52 seconds, a second behind German competitor Jens Ludeke!  Rebecca Simms from neighbouring Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service was fastest out of all the British female firefighters in a time of 4 minutes 52 seconds.

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The highly demanding individual event was then followed by the relay event. This involved teams of four firefighters going against one another to complete the same course. Thirteen relay teams took part in this, including two from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, with both finishing just out of the medal positions. The German team TFA X-Cross won gold in a time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds. Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were the fastest out of all the British fire and rescue services, winning silver with a time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds with London finishing in Bronze with a time of 2 minutes and 31 seconds.

The event was a great success with a number of fire service equipment sponsors supporting the event amongst many other organisations. A1 Trophies also supported the event by sponsoring all the trophies and relay medals. A massive thank you must go out to them all as this event could not have taken place without them.

The British Firefighter Challenge team is hopeful of bringing the competition to the streets of Leicester in July 2017, aiming to promote physical fitness within our fire and rescue services. The competition also hopes to help raise awareness amongst the members of the public on how physically demanding structural firefighting can be in the line of duty, to save lives and protect property. If you are interested in hearing about future events, please find The British Firefighter Challenge page on Facebook, or search @TeamGB_Fire on twitter. Any messages of support are greatly appreciated.

Simon Headley BCAv receiving his Medal from Dame Mary Perkins, Co-Founde...

SIMON HEADLEY WINS BRITISH CITIZENS AWARD

Simon Headley, a selfless emergency volunteer, has been recognised at the House of Lords for his dedication to supporting his community and has been commended for his outstanding commitment to the emergency services. His selfless responsibility has helped him gain one of the country’s highest accolades – a British Citizen Award (BCA). The BCA recognises extraordinary achievements by everyday people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Simon has had a lifelong ambition to work with fire and rescue services and he currently works as a full time administrator at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. As well as this, Simon is the coordinator for the British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support and also manages to make time to support three other agencies voluntarily.

He is on call for 12 hours a week as a first responder for the East Midlands Ambulance Service, where he responds to urgent requests and deals with life threatening situations regularly. He also dedicates 12 hours each week to Leicestershire Search and Rescue and chooses to be on call for 48 hours each week for the British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support.

When asked about receiving his award, Simon said: “Being awarded a BCA is one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve ever received. It’s an honour to be recognised for something I’m very passionate about and has given me so much joy over the years. I was completely shocked when I found out I was being honoured with this prestigious award. I didn’t know too much about the BCAs until I was nominated, but being recognised for the work I do is a huge achievement and I’m very excited.”

He continued: “Even though I’m only a volunteer, I take all my positions seriously because I’m dealing with the lives of others. I want to do the best I can to make the lives of others easier, and be there as a support system for those who need it. I’m always trying to learn new things that can benefit others.”

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KREFELD VISIT 2016

With the city of Leicester twinning with Krefeld in Germany, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service send over a team of firefighters each year to take part in a set of games – this year was the 43rd visit. Twenty firefighters arrived on 14 April and were greeted by Krefeld Chief Fire Officer Dietmar Meissner. He welcomed the twinning friendship and hoped the visit, which began with a games of tug of war which Krefeld won and a barbeque for everyone to feast on, would be enjoyed.

On the following day (15 April), the team were given a tour of Krefeld’s new spectacular fire station and headquarters. The Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Andreas Klos, allowed the team full access to the building which cost a staggering €35million to build. This modern emergency service building has all their key services on one site; fire appliance and paramedic ambulance bays, fire control, workshops, stores, breathing apparatus servicing, volunteer firefighter equipment, a high rise training house, gas powered fire apparatus as well as a gym and small all-weather pitch.

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During the tour the Chief Fire Officer, Mr Meissner, announced that before joining the fire service he was a bricklayer and he had decided to create a wall of honour for all retiring firefighters in Krefeld. As recognition of the friendship between the two cities and to thank Watch Manager Martin Bee for his commitment to twinning since 1997, he was awarded the first brick in their wall – a very kind gesture that marked his last official visit before retiring.

At the end of the tour another announcement was made. The team were informed that the entrance of Krefeld’s new fire station was being named Bob Miller Platz (Bob Miller Place) after firefighter Bob Miller who visited Krefeld on many twinning occasions. He sadly lost his life, aged 44, in a fire in Leicester in 2002. Chief Fire Officer Dietmar Meissner, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andreas Klos and Ulf Tabbert, a retired firefighter, were the only people that knew about this special presentation. Everyone was deeply moved by this kind, thoughtful memorable gesture to Bob and were happy it took place in Krefeld. Soon after the games continued in a nearby snow dome with Leicester winning the sledging.

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On Saturday (16 April) the team revisited the new fire station and were introduced to the new Mayor of Krefeld, Frank Meier, who officially welcomed them on behalf of the people of Krefeld. He then started the days challenges which began with a five a side football match for the long standing Ulf Tabbert and Jerry Askham Trophy, which Krefeld went on to win 2-1.

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Finally, there was the firefighters challenge where four firefighters from Krefeld went up against four firefighters from Leicester in pulling a fire appliance, running up their training tower (7 floors) hauling aloft hose, running down the tower to the fire engine and putting a fire out. Krefeld took 6:01 mins Leicester took 5:20 mins – great result by the team!

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The evening was spent with many presentations and commitments to the longstanding friendship between the two cities at a pub owned by Robert Obertreis, who had visited Leicester and spent time at the Old Horse on London Road. A special presentation also went to Krefeld firefighter Frank Peters for supporting firefighters in Leicester.

The team returned Sunday 17 April having once again spent an amazing time with our Krefeld firefighter friends and family.

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LETTER OF APPRECIATION

Over the years, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service have receive a wide variety of compliments, concerns and complaints from the members of the public who live and work in our communities. Whatever the nature, we make sure that we take on board any comments made, whether they are good or bad, as we want to provide a service that satisfies the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – a tough job we know!

It is always nice to hear that the work we do as a Service is appreciated, whether it is fire prevention, response, educational or something as simple as turning up to support local community events; it’s like music to our ears. Recently, we received a letter from a boy aged 6 years old, showing his appreciation for firefighters – seeing them them as brave, real life superheroes.

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It’s good to see that young children are learning about firefighters and fire safety at such a young age, making them aware of the dangers but in a more positive and effective way. To answer the boy’s questions, we all like our jobs at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, especially the firefighting – we enjoy saving lives and keeping our local communities safe.

We have many sources of water and, depending on the circumstance will depend on what source/sources we use. Our appliances carry a certain amount of water, we have a water carrier and water bowser to take extra water to an incident if required, we have the option of using water hydrants, private hydrants and underground tanks if they are located in close proximity to an incident as well as the option of using an open water source (usually a river close by to an incident).

Receiving letters like this one shows that our firefighters are appreciated for the work they do in helping to protect our communities on a day to day basis and, they are still looked up to by members of the public, in particularly the youth of today. If our firefighters were ever in any doubt as to why they do what they do, in uniform or not, then this letter has summed it up so thank you Matty!

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OPERATION NEW YEAR EXERCISE

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service do more than just put out fires. We have highly trained crews who are trained for many things such as road traffic collisions and technical rescue work. Due to the forever changing environments, we have to make sure that our crews skills are refreshed and updated regularly in order to keep them on top of their game and prepared at all times – you never know when they are going to be needed!

Recently our Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) had to take part in Operation New Year Exercise, which was arranged by our very own Paul Purser. This was a USAR exercise for Zone 2 Essex, Buckinghamshire, West Midlands, Norfolk, Lincoln and ourselves and, was organised as part of our assurance process for USAR.

It turned out to be an excellent weekend made up of a number of workshops on the Friday and Saturday. These consisted of breaking and breaching technical search, shoring, lifting and moving and, working on a rubble pile. At 01:00am on the Sunday morning, Operation New Year began and the teams worked all the way through until 09:00am the same day – not an easy training exercise to say the least.

This training event allowed specialist teams to train and work together in a live environment. The ability to train in these environments is essential to emergency services such as ourselves. It allows preparation for worst-case scenarios on site prior to any actual emergency happening. This prior knowledge is invaluable as it enhances the potential for successful outcomes  if and when a real life scenario occurs.

The experiences of the day allowed all the teams involved to learn from one another, helping them better enhance their skill set. They were able to share ideas and learning outcomes which can only help them in the future. On behalf of everyone involved during the exercise, we would like to say a huge thank you.

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FLYING THE FLAG

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service Birstall HQ, Loughborough Fire and Rescue Station and Shepshed Fire and Rescue Station are raising the rainbow flag today (Tuesday 17 May) for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

This is a worldwide annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, members of the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and, all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service are continually working to promote important messages and develop an understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) initiatives, through internal networks, forums and work with other organisations. IDAHOT has been promoted throughout the organisations since 2013 and, in 2014 an award was won for the most improved employer in the East Midlands at the Stonewall Workplace Equality Awards.

Joanna Raisin, Crew Manager at Loughborough Red Watch, said: “It may only be a small act of flying a flag at the station but, hopefully it sends out a strong message of support for the LGBT community, and says that the Service doesn’t tolerate bullying of any sort. We believe that people should be able to be themselves and be proud of who they are.”

‘ShOUT!’ is Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network, made up of staff members who have a drive to move forward with matters relating to sexual orientation and workplace equality. If you want to find out more information visit our Twitter page @LFRSshout.

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RUDOLPH DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST

Rudolph has become a popular figure in the local communities in Leicestershire since he made his first appearance in 1949 and, he has gone on to help raise more than £300,000 over the years. During his time he has had a few make overs to keep him going and now, he is looking better than he ever has.

On Wednesday 27 April 2016, on behalf of the Rudolph Fund Committee, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Steve Lunn presented six charities with their share of the donations collected from members of the public throughout the December 2015 collections.

During the collections Rudolph and his team, which included volunteers and firefighters, travelled around Leicester in the cold and dark winter days to raise this money for the charities, as they have done for many years. They managed to raise a huge £10,758.19 which was shared amongst; After 18, Adapt, Friends of Sycamore Court, Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre (Mablethorpe), Leicestershire Down’s Syndrome Group and When You Wish Upon a Star. All the charities were very grateful for the money they received and are now able to put this into helping out the people who need it.

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Lucy Dalgress, from the charity When You Wish Upon A Star, said: “We organise an annual trip to Lapland for children in the East Midlands so this donation from Rudolph means we are off to see Rudolph!”

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service wouldn’t have been able to do this without the generosity from the members of the public and the commitment from volunteers and staff so, we want to say a big thank you to you all. You have helped us make people in need happy and, it wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Rudolph will be back on the roads this December, after he’s had his long overdue summer holiday and recovered from last years antics. Keep a look out for him again in 2016 – updates on his whereabouts will be release nearer the time.