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.

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.

NOT JUST FIRES

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service provides much more than just emergency response to fires. Our crews are also highly trained in extrication from road traffic collisions, and our Technical Rescue crew is trained in all aspects of rescue work. Ian Nuttall from our Technical Rescue crew explains why real-life scenario training exercises are so valuable in preparing emergency service personnel for rescue work.

When there is a missing person the Police are responsible for the coordination of the search to find them and at certain incidents other specialist teams are required to assist; either to provide extra personnel or extra skills and equipment. On a Saturday in early April there was a multi-agency emergency services exercise that was undertaken at Bluebell Quarry located at the Midland Quarry Products Asphalt plant in Groby. This involved the Leicestershire Police Tactical Support Group, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service Technical Rescue Team and Leicestershire Search and Rescue (LeicSAR – pronounced as Lexar) – totaling around 40 personnel.

The scenario involved two missing persons in an apparent suicide attempt (based on an historical incident that occurred in the south of the UK), with the addition of a third casualty that was a passer-by. The initial response was the arrival of a Police Search Advisor to develop a search plan of the area. The next stage of the search then involved LeicSAR whose primary role is to provide specialist resources to Leicestershire’s emergency services to assist in the search and rescue of vulnerable and missing people in the Leicestershire area. After a clear and comprehensive safety brief, two LeicSAR teams were deployed around the top of the quarry and the three casualties were quickly identified.

Due to the casualty locations (two being on different quarry faces and one in the water), specialist rescue teams were required. These were made up of Rope Rescue and Water Rescue trained personnel from both Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Leicestershire Police and the casualties were successfully recovered by a combination of inflatable boats and rope rescue equipment.

This training event, which has the potential to occur at numerous locations in the future allowed three specialist teams to train and work together in a live environment that posed credible hazards. The experiences of the day and the learning outcomes from all three teams were achieved because of the access to this environment.

On behalf of everyone involved during the exercise, thank you to all at Midland Quarry Products who assisted in the development of the exercise. The exercise would not have been such a success without your input.

The ability to train in these environments is essential to both emergency services and the host sites.  This co-operation allows preparation for worst-case scenarios on site prior to any actual emergency and this prior knowledge is invaluable as it enhances the potential for successful outcomes for all parties involved.

IAN NUTTALL
Technical Rescue

ARTFUL ROAD SAFETY MESSAGE

With the rise in number of road traffic collisions that Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service now have to deal with, two firefighters from White Watch at Western Fire and Rescue Station have come up with a unique way to get a road safety message across. Ainsley Burton and Rich ‘Mo’ Curtis have put together a piece of graffiti work that is grabbing the attention of all who pass Western Fire and Rescue Station in New Parks, Leicester. This piece of art highlights the Fatal Four safety message with the grim reaper caricatures recreated as never seen before. And what’s more, the creation of this huge wall mural has all been filmed by local photographer, Scott Choucino, and published via various social media channels. With more than half a day’s filming condensed down into a two and a half minute film, the end result is pretty spectacular. Whilst producing the artwork, many local residents who were passing, stopped to ask Mo and Ainsley about what they were doing and also enquired about what the Fatal Four were. The Fatal Four are the four main causes of deaths and serious injuries to drivers on our roads, and a reaper character represents each of these causes. Have a look at the mural and see if you can work out what each of the causes are. If you want to find out if you were right, then visit http://www.thefatalfour.co.uk to see. If you are interested in having a closer look at the completed mural at Western Fire and Rescue Station, please come down to New Parks Boulevard, off Aikman Avenue. And if you want to see just how Mo and Ainsley’s creative talents were put to use to create the mural, watch Scott Choucino’s film here: http://youtu.be/t8qPPyxQyhk

Don’t forget, if you are on Twitter you can follow us on: @LFRSWestern @thefatalfour @LeicsFireRescue and if you are on Facebook you can follow us: http://www.facebook.com/LeicsFireRescue http://www.facebook.com/TheFatalFour