The UK’s fire and rescue services descended upon the Fire Service College at the weekend to compete at this year’s UK Rescue Challenge, operated by the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation.
Having hosted the World Rescue Challenge in 2014, the College once again put on a great event that put teams through their paces in a range of demanding rescue scenarios that tested key skills such as technical rescue, incident command and trauma care.
The vehicle extrication challenge, which has been at the heart of the competition for more than 20 years, once again provided competitors with the opportunity to demonstrate their skill, ingenuity and innovation in order to overcome a range of complex and challenging road traffic collision scenarios. Competition was tight with all teams showing why the UK fire and rescue service is the best in the world but it was Hampshire who triumphed overall with Hereford and Worcester and South Wales A taking second and third places respectively, all of whom earned the right to represent the UK at next year’s World Rescue Challenge in Brazil. The absence of a challenge last year also meant that Essex, Oxford and London who finished fourth, fifth and sixth will be representing the UK at this year’s World Rescue Challenge in Portugal in October.
Competition was equally tight in the trauma competition where teams demonstrated the ever increasing challenges faced by firefighters in dealing with trauma injuries. Led by Dr Amelia Weaver an Emergency Doctor with the NHS, the scenarios were designed to reflect the types of injuries that firefighters are often confronted with. After two days of severed limbs, walking wounded and lots of fake blood, it was the team from London Fire Brigade who took first place ahead of Hampshire B and West Midlands B in second and third. Like their extrication counterparts, all three teams will be competing on the world stage in Brazil next year. Similarly, Staffordshire, Hereford and Worcester and Hampshire A will be heading to Portugal later in the year as reward for fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes.
The rope rescue challenge was the third discipline in which teams competed and like the extrication and trauma challenges, the bar was raised this year with teams facing a range of demanding scenarios that tested all aspects of rescues from height. Although a relatively new addition to the challenge format, this particular rescue discipline typifies the ever increasing range of rescue capabilities required of UK fire and rescue services to meet changing risks. It was London Fire Brigade who walked away with first place with South Wales runners up and West Midlands coming in at third.
Steve Apter, Chair of the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation, congratulated all of the teams that competed and said: “The UK Rescue Challenge is unique in showcasing the technical rescue capabilities of firefighters from the UK and the level of skill shown in all three disciplines this year was exceptional. The teams are continually pushing the boundaries of technical rescue in order to seek new methods and techniques that ultimately improve the capability of every firefighter in the country”.
“A special thank you as well to all those who helped make the event the success it was. Without the continued dedication of our assessors and logistic personnel there wouldn’t be a challenge and so I’m grateful to the time and effort they have given. I would also like to thank the project team at the Fire Service College for their hard work and perseverance to make it such a great event”.
“Finally, we are fortunate to have fantastic sponsors who not only support the organisation itself but also provide the equipment and resources which makes the challenge possible. I’d like to thank them for their on-going backing and support”.