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.

Krefield fire station

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.

bob miller 1

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.

Football games

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!

Pulling challenge v1

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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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.

URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE DOG – GEMMA (1996-2014)

It is with great sorrow that USAR Dog Gemma passed away today at the grand age of 18 years and 5 months.

Gemma was an extraordinary search dog and a special companion. Very rarely would we be parted, until her retirement in 2009.

She continued to come to work, still thinking that she was operational. Until she realized that she could have a lay in! She would then open up her eyes and acknowledge my presence before going back to sleep, especially if it was an early morning start, whilst Abby and Maya would be running around waiting to get out the door.

Here are just a few of her milestones in her life:

  • Picked up by me, out of a box of yellow Labradors at 9 weeks old in a North Wales dog rescue home
  • Travelled and worked on 5 continents
  • Deployed to several major earthquakes
  • Awarded a global award for her work in Washington DC USA
  • 10 year long service award from Leicestershire Fire and Recue Service
  • Attended numerous incidents in the UK, one of these being the Glasgow factory gas explosion
  • Attended many station open days and national events
  • She was instrumental in training numerous handlers, USAR technicians and firefighters from many different fire and rescue services and international teams in the use of dogs in Urban Search and Rescue work.

In simple terms, Gemma was the dog that any handler would strive to own. She was a natural search dog and a dream to work with. She was one in a million and will be sadly missed by all of our family.

Chris Pritchard

Firefighter – Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue

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FAREWELL FROM MOIRA

Finally, after 76 years, Moira On-Call (retained) Fire and Rescue Station has closed.
I myself joined in 1998, when the basic training was two weeks of purgatory at Central Fire and Rescue Station. I have to say now that some of the principles picked up in those two weeks still come to the surface and will probably remain with me always. The trainers on the course were Watson and Nagra – both names still strike a chord!
The job has played a huge part in my life (and that of my family) and I hope that my part in it has played a positive part in other’s lives. As a firefighter you see some sights; the highs and lows of human life. Some things make you extremely sad and others lift your heart, but all these experiences fashion your outlook on life. I’ve never been one to dwell on some of the darker events but I will always remember the smiles and laughter.
It has to be said, the main thing I will take with me is the friends I have made, both at my own station and in the Service as a whole. A lot of people have left a lasting impression on me and they will always be in my thoughts. To be an On-Call (retained) Firefighter is a huge commitment and this shows in the people I have shared my time with. I remember sometimes crying with laughter in the back of the pump but conversely I have seen shock, sadness and horror etched in the faces of my colleagues after some particularly nasty incident. All these experiences make you a stronger person and I think that there can’t be many other jobs that give you these moments.
My thanks to all that have crossed my path and influenced me – there are too many to mention, but you will all be remembered!
Crew Manager  (at time of writing) Chris Sloan 2217

Moira