A family fun day at Whitley Wood Fire station in Reading played backdrop to this year’s UKRO Regional Challenge on Saturday (25th June) hosted by Royal Berks Fire and Rescue Service.
Despite the threat of rain and forecasted flash flooding, the weather held off as more teams from across the country’s UK Fire and Rescue service descended on the community fire station. With Crews from as far as Hereford and Worcester, London, South Wales and Cornwall and neighbouring Hampshire who work very closely with Royal Berkshire, the teams got to showcase their extrication and trauma skills to the public.
Fire Alpha II Rescue Boat, which responds to emergencies on the River Thames and the Heavy Rescue Unit used at road traffic collisions involving large vehicles such as lorries and the Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP), which is primarily used to deliver water from height at incidents such as a fire at a block of flats were all on hand to entertain families and visitors to the station. If all those activities weren’t enough, in between the extrication and trauma challenges, there was an ice-cream van available for the little ones and a barbecue which was also a hit with the visitors.
Fire crews were on hand to teach visitors how to provide life-saving CPR.
The open day provided the perfect opportunity for people to talk to firefighters about a range of safety topics including how to prevent a fire in the home, and how to stay safe around water. But as with previous days, people were glued to the live simulated road traffic collision demonstrations from the UK regional extrication teams.
During the event, the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) team competed against teams from Cornwall, South Wales, Hereford & Worcester, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and London Fire Brigade in a bid to claim victory but the South Wales Fire and Rescue service were on top form scooping gold with a close second from Hereford and Worcester. Neighbouring Hampshire took third place in the extraction challenge.
During the demonstrations, the teams showed their skills in removing ‘casualties’ from realistic road collision scenarios using specialist cutting gear and rescue equipment. Every move was scrutinised by a team of assessors and teams had to compete against the clock as well as each other.
Area Manager, Paul Maynard, from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service who was also one of the Command Assessors for the day, said, “The open day was a fantastic family day out and a great opportunity for people to come and find out about their local station and what services we deliver to the public. People are often surprised to hear about the variety of things we do as well as fight fires and rescue people from road traffic collisions, and the event is an ideal time for us to pass on some vital safety messages. The kids had a great day and we are certainly pleased that the event was such a great success.”
Steve Apter, Chairman of the UKRO, said, “The range of skills and professionalism on show during the regional events is fantastic and I can’t thank the regional organisers and hosts who put on these challenges enough. Without them we couldn’t do it, and it’s a great way for the public to see the variety of rescue skills required by the modern fire and rescue service. It’s not just about extinguishing fires, a lot of training goes on every week across the UK.”