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North Yorkshire firefighters scoop award at United Kingdom Rescue Challenge 2013

12th July 2013

Firefighters from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have scooped a top award after an intense, two-day Challenge, thought to be the largest rescue competition in the world.

North Yorkshire won third place in the Trauma Challenge. They competed against 25 other teams from fire and rescue services from Greater Manchester, East Sussex, Cornwall, Essex, Northampton, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Hereford, Sellafield Fire and Rescue Service and the Isle of Wight.

They were presented with their awards at the United Kingdom Rescue Challenge 2013 award ceremony at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool.

Teams from London Fire Brigade won the second place award and the first place award in the Trauma Challenge.

The United Kingdom Rescue Challenge 2013 saw 37 fire and rescue service teams from across the UK including Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Scotland and Cheshire taking part.

More than 400 people flocked to see hundreds of firefighters compete in a range of skill areas to be crowned the best in the UK on Friday and Saturday (4th and 5th July) on a specially constructed area near the BT Convention Centre and Kings Dock and Queens Dock in Liverpool.

In total 600 competitors were at the event staged by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS), working with the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO). Awards were presented for first, second and third place.

The range of challenges this year included rope rescue, casualty management/trauma care, extrication/vehicle rescue, water rescue and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). Awards were presented by sponsors and Chief Fire Officer Steve Apter, Chair of UKRO, at the awards ceremony.

The firefighters from London also won the Rope Challenge and Urban Search and Rescue Challenge.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service won the Extrication Challenge and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service won the Water Challenge.

As event hosts Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service did not enter a team.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens said: “The United Kingdom Rescue Challenge 2013 was a great success. Our staff worked really hard in planning and staging the event. I was at the awards ceremony and told the audience of competitors that they are a credit to the fire and rescue services and really show what professionalism there is in our sector. Many had given up spare time to train and prepare for the event and I was proud to see their efforts recognised.

The Challenge was in a great location and the public visited the site and spoke to our officers about fire and road safety during both days.

 “A variety of equipment was on show from the hydraulic cutting equipment used by modern fire and rescue services to the ropes, harnesses and water rescue kit.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has hosted large events in the past; most notably the World Firefighter Games in 2008. The Service is once again proud to host another major event that showcased Liverpool’s history, culture, warmth and hospitality.

We would like to thank all our sponsors for this event who have either provided equipment or funds to make sure UKRO 2013 would really make its mark.”

Chief Fire Officer Steve Apter, Chair of UKRO and Chief Fire Officer of the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, visited the site of the event on Friday and Saturday. He also presented the award for the winners of the Extrication Challenge at the event’s closing ceremony.

Chief Fire Officer Apter said: “The range of skills and professionalism on show during the event was fantastic and it was great to see all of the teams’ efforts recognised by those at the closing ceremony and awards ceremony in Liverpool.

This is the largest rescue challenge of its kind in the world.

The atmosphere has been exceptional the hospitality of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and their volunteers has been brilliant. I have spoken to competitors, public and sponsors here at the event and they all agree it has been a superb Challenge.

This is the largest number of competitors we have had so far in the event’s history. We introduced the concept of water rescue last year and that’s been taken on this year here in Liverpool. The unique thing about the UK Rescue Challenge is that it shows the wide variety of rescue skills required by the modern fire and rescue service and it hopefully demonstrates to the public those skills and the true value of the fire and rescue service. It’s not just about extinguishing fires, a lot of training goes on now every week across the UK.”

The site included two metal towers, more than 30-feet high, which were used to test rope skills and floating pontoons in water near Kings Dock, where firefighters rescued “casualties” as part of the assessments.

Four teams from outside the UK also displayed their skills during the two days. The teams were from Spain, Turkey, Macedonia and Austria.

Crowds also flocked to the Community Village area at the event where there was safety information available for the public on road safety and fire safety during the two days.

A range of activities were held for the family, including the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Fire Fit climbing wall, pancake making sessions, the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service quad bikes and a chip pan fire demonstration on the Saturday.

New figures, released on Friday, to mark the start of the United Kingdom Rescue Challenge 2013, revealed firefighters rescued more than 20,000 people following road crashes in England in three years, six times as many people as those rescued from house fires during the same period.

In the three financial years, ending March 2012, the most recent figures available, 23,600 people were rescued by fire and rescue services in England following crashes on the road.

During the same period, 3,600 people were rescued in England by fire and rescue services after fires started by accident in homes. The rounded figures were obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government.


The team collect their award

Chair of UKRO Chief Fire Officer Steve Apter , Nicola Bullamore, Ian Lawrence, one of the event sponsors from Openhouse and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens.

Photo courtesy of Chris Phillips.

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