HWFRS give their best ever performance and finish second place in the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) National Challenge
Last week, two teams from HWFRS were among fire services from across the entire country competing in the UKRO National Challenge 2015. The HWFRS team from Ross-on-Wye, who competed in the extrication challenge, gave their best performance to date and finished in second place nationally. They will now go forward to represent the UK in Brazil next April at the World Extrication Championships.
The national competition, that took place at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire, had four award categories; extrication (freeing casualties from road traffic collision scenarios), trauma, urban search and rescue (USAR), and rope rescue. Whilst the Ross-on-Wye team (consisting of Daniel Gray, Adrian Phillips, Shaun Moser, Pat Murphy, Simon Griffiths and Matthew Richardson) competed for the extrication title, HWFRS duo, Simon Griffiths and Jayne Collins, competed in the trauma challenge. The pair finished in very good fifth place and will go forward to represent the UK in at the World Trauma Championships in Portugal later this year. This was also a top result for the Service and the best that HWFRS has ever performed.
The competition spanned over two days and, during this time, both teams competed against other fire services in a range of challenging scenarios that put their skills to the test. On day one of the extrication challenge the crews were given 20 minutes to safely rescue a casualty from a two car road traffic collision scenario. The following day they were faced with a more complex scenario involving rescuing two casualties from a collision between a HGV and a car. The trauma team also faced some tough scenarios, including a casualty that had been impaled by a stick and a car explosion with seven causalities. All casualties were played by qualified doctors, nurses and paramedics, so they really put the teams through their paces.
The extrication team were judged on incident command, medical response, and the technical element (making cuts and stabilising the vehicle etc.). In terms of the technical response, the team beat the other 21 teams and came in first place nationally for both of the scenarios. A team from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, who are the current world champions, finished first overall.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Richard Lawrence attended the event and said: "Over the two days they were faced with a range of demanding exercises that really put their skills to the test. Both teams did exceptionally well and we are immensely proud to have such talented, professional firefighters within the Service. Yet again, the annual challenge has been an excellent opportunity for firefighters from all over the UK to come together to learn new skills and techniques that allow us to respond to emergencies in the most efficient manner."
Prior to the competition a significant amount of preparation has taken place and both dedicated teams have undertaken additional training in order to improve and build upon their skills. Each individual has worked extremely hard to prepare for the competition and the Ross-on-Wye team has also undertaken extra training in ultra-heavy vehicle rescue over at Droitwich Spa Fire Station. In addition to this, the teams have already competed in regional competitions and Ross-on-Wye recently represented the UK at Intershutz, an international competition that took place in Hanover, Germany. In this competition, the team ranked 11 th place overall out of the 29 international fire services that competed.
In total, 44 teams from all over the UK competed in the competition. All of the challenges are designed to further educate firefighters and enable them to respond to incidents in the best way possible. Competitors also attended a series of workshops in the four key areas (extrication, trauma, rope, and USAR) to further develop their skills.