Firefighters compete in world event

Pictured, from left, Steve Wight, Andy Pogson, Donna Hay, Steve Wickham, Richard Fairbairn and Gary Hall.
Pictured, from left, Steve Wight, Andy Pogson, Donna Hay, Steve Wickham, Richard Fairbairn and Gary Hall.

THREE firefighters from Northumberland were part of a six-strong team that took part in a world championships in London earlier this month.

Gary Hall, Steve Wright and Steve Whickham, all based at West Hartford, travelled to to the Excel Arena for a two-day event which attracted firefighters from across the world.

The team, which also featured watch manager Andy Pogson, from Prudhoe, firefighter Richard Fairbairn, from Hexham, and Donna Hay, from the North East Ambulance Service, were marked on their technical skills in timed exercises to remove casualties from car crash scenarios, set up to replicate real road accidents.

Andy said: “We all worked well together in preparation for the competition and during the event itself.

Taking part in these competitions is an ideal way to train and learn new techniques so we are ready for the real rescues we carry out as part of fire service roles.”

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service consistently performs well in regional, national and international extrication championships.

This is the second time that the team has represented the UK in the World Rescue Extrication Championships.

In 2009 they competed internationally after being crowned the UK champions.

Alex Bennett, chief fire officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue, said: “This is an outstanding achievement by a group of very dedicated officers.

“Their success reflects the training that is given to all firefighters in Northumberland to equip them with the skills to act with speed and care to save lives on Northumberland’s roads.”

This year the team were placed seventh out of 30 teams and team captain Andy Pogson won third place in the officer in charge category, and the technical tool operators also placed third.