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.

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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.

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