HWFRS firefighters qualify for national competition in dramatic Breathing Apparatus contest in Telford

BA Training Challenge 2022 Leominster Winners

Two HWFRS teams have qualified to go forward to a national competition after the fire service’s exciting and closely fought regional BA (Breathing Apparatus) Training Challenge, which took place recently at Telford Training Centre.

The Challenge saw four HWFRS teams taking part to qualify for this year’s national challenge, as well as two teams from Shropshire, competing to select their own national contenders.

HWFRS fielded teams from Broadway/Evesham, Leominster, Bromsgrove and Whitchurch.

On arrival, the teams immediately faced their first task: a serious ‘house fire’ where the building was under renovation and several workers were missing.

Teams were quickly committed to the fire, needing to carry out rescues in arduous ‘hot fire conditions’.

This year had the added complication of a ‘casualty’ contacting the crew via phone to report being trapped in the adjoining building and needing urgent rescue.

Outside, the teams were kept just as busy with a vast array of back-up work to support the actual BA team who entered the buildings and bring the incident to a successful conclusion.

National assessors from West Midlands Fire & Rescue Service, and HWFRS’s community volunteers also played a major role in enhancing the scenario to achieve maximum training value.

The proud winners on the day were the Leominster team:

WC Mark Phillips, the Officer in Charge and team leader, Ff John Briggs, the driver, Ff Owen Mabbort and Ff Malcolm Fletcher on the BA Team, and Entry Control Officer, Ff Amy Morris.

Close behind as runners up were the Bromsgrove team:

WC Lee Rudge, the Officer in Charge and team leader, Ff Nigel Crawford, the driver, Ff James Smith and Ff Matthew Round on the BA Team, and Entry Control Officer Ff Jordan Ahmed.

The results for the individual disciplines were:

Best OIC – Leominster – WC Mark Phillips

Runner Up OIC – Bromsgrove – WC Lee Rudge

Best Fire Ground – Leominster – Ff John Briggs

Runner Up Fire Ground – Broadway – CC Gary Thompson

Best BA – Broadway – CC Luke Rose and CC Dean Williams

Runner Up BA – Bromsgrove – Ff James Smith and Ff Matthew Round

Best ECO – Leominster – Ff Amy Morris

Runner Up ECO – Bromsgrove – Ff Jordan Ahmed

All teams demonstrated an extremely high standard in all areas which was testament to their dedication and professionalism. The BA wearers of all four teams were split by only eight points out of a potential 200!

The top two HWFRS teams will now go forward to represent the Service at the National BA Challenge, to be held at the Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh, on Saturday, 8 October 2022.

Group Commander Phill Sanders, Operational Policy, Assurance & Fire Control, said:

“This was a challenging and demanding exercise, calling for a wide range of firefighting skills and training. My congratulations to all our contestants who took part, as well as our hosts from Shropshire Fire & Rescue who made us so welcome.

“The BA Service run off and subsequent representation at the national challenge are firmly part of the Service’s calendar, demonstrating year-on-year our personnel’s commitment to furthering and improving their skills in this critical firefighting skill.

“To make the crews’ experience as realistic as possible, and assess them in all areas, takes considerable behind-the-scenes from support staff.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable assistance of assessors who also support the National Challenge.

“All participants are to be congratulated for being willing to put themselves under such close scrutiny.

“When the results were in, the tally was very close”.