Firefighters are the best of British

The Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service team in action. Picture by Graham Mitchell Photography
The Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service team in action. Picture by Graham Mitchell Photography

A team of Northumberland firefighters has proved to be among the best in Britain at saving lives.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) Extrication Team has just competed in the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) National challenge in Humberside.

The team of incident commander Andy Pogson, medics James Kidman and Steve Wight, and technical tool operators Richie Fairbairn, Steve Wickham and Gary Hall tested their road traffic rescue and trauma medical skills against 30 teams from fire and rescue services across the UK.

The first day’s challenge was a 20-minute standard rescue scenario, with the top 20 teams then going forward to day two.

There they faced more complex tests, longer and with more trapped casualties. All teams are marked on three categories: Incident command; technical (tool operation); and medical.

The NFRS team finished second overall, with individual awards for best incident commander and best technical (tool operation). The team has now been chosen by UKRO to represent the UK Fire and Rescue Services in the World Rescue Challenge in South Africa in 2018.

As well as the actual rescue competition, the team attended a number of training workshops focusing on trauma care, new vehicle technology, including dealing with electric and gas-powered cars, and a heavy goods vehicle workshop.

These training workshops are designed to improve their technical rescue knowledge, and it equips them with the skills to better deal with these types of incidents .

on their return to service.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley said: “We have supported the UKRO competition for many years and have developed an excellent reputation on the national and international stage.

“Two individual bests and second overall is a tremendous accolade for the service and a testament to the dedication, commitment and professional skills of the team.

“The skills and knowledge gained by the team is shared across all our fire stations and leads to operational and medical improvement across the whole service. This in turn leads to better outcomes for people involved in road traffic collisions in Northumberland.”

Coun John Riddle, chairman of Northumberland Fire Authority, said: “It is great to see Northumberland being so successful on a national stage and I’d like to congratulate the team for an outstanding performance.

“We may be a small fire and rescue service but we strive to be the best we possibly can and this is certainly evidence of that aspiration.”