Mercedes-Benz Citans offer safe option for Scottish FRS

Fire chiefs in Scotland have drafted in a new fleet of 17 fuel efficient Mercedes-Benz Citan small vans to help spread key safety messages.

They were supplied to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) by Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Aberdeen, and are being maintained by the dealer’s Service team, as well as in other workshops run by its parent company T.O.M.

The new vans are all 90hp Citan 109 CDI models with long bodies and are assigned to fire prevention duties.

They are used by officers who carry out risk assessments of commercial and public buildings, deliver safety demonstrations and undertake door-to-door smoke alarm inspections in residential areas.

They may also be called into action to support frontline fire appliances at major incidents. Fleet Manager Scott Roberts said, “We trialled vehicles in the same class from all of the main manufacturers and the quality and specification of the Citans was in a different league to their competitors.”

The Citans have replaced vehicles of another brand, which were supplied directly by the manufacturer and maintained by different dealers depending on the location. Mr Roberts continued, “Now, though, we have a single point of contact for everything, which makes my life much easier and is far more efficient.” www.firescotland.gov.uk

Mid and West Wales FRS holds fire appliance dedication ceremony

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service Service’s Chaplain, Rev. Illtyd Protheroe, recently joined Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies, Fire Authority Chair Wynne Evans, local councillors and fire crew in Narberth as part of a dedication ceremony for a brand new fire appliance in the town.

The new £290,000 Volvo fire appliance, which replaced the previous 15 year old vehicle, was blessed by Rev. Protheroe, with the keys then presented to Watch Manager Paul Morris by the Chief Fire Officer.

CFO Chris Davies said, “A well equipped, well trained and well motivated fire and rescue service is essential to ensuring the continuing safety of the communities we live in.

“We invest in our fleet of vehicles and equipment so that our firefighters have the best resources available to them to deal with emergencies, protecting themselves and the communities they serve “

In common with many other public sector organisations, the fire and rescue service is facing budget cuts that could impact on the services we provide in the future.

As a service we have already saved £7.5m - nearly 17% of our budget since 2005.

“Working collaboratively has been key to making savings. This appliance for example was purchased under an All-Wales contract, which allows us to save in the region of £60,000 per appliance.” www.mawwfire.gov.uk

Telecare advances can reduce preventable fire deaths

London Fire Brigade (LFB) has stated that expansion of high-tech telecare and remote monitoring systems is needed to reduce injury and fatalities among people at high risk, such as the elderly and those with a range of medical.

The brigade has embarked in a partnership with Telecare Services Association (TSA), which promotes the advanced technology and supports safety, health and care in the home and community.

The partnership will see the brigade and TSA share information about fires in buildings which are fitted with telecare in order to build knowledge on how the systems work and better equip the brigade with information before they arrive on scene following an alarm’s activation.

Neil Orbell, LFB Fire Safety Assistant Commissioner, said,

“It is unacceptable that vulnerable people continue to die in fires in premises where they should be safe, and technology enabled care will assist us in preventing these tragedies in the future.”

“London Fire Brigade are delighted to be entering this partnership with TSA as it reinforces our commitment to protecting vulnerable and socially isolated people across London.

The brigade recognises that telecare systems are part of a person centred approach to fire safety, which when installed in the homes of people at risk, will increase the chances of them surviving a fire.”

The partnership will aim to raise awareness of the technology’s possibilities, especially among housing and care providers who will be urged to make their own properties - and those living in them - as danger free as possible. www.london-fire.gov.uk

Firefighters respond to simulated fairground attraction incident

Firefighters from Canterbury and Deal were recently involved in a training exercise in which three casualties were rescued from the Kent Wheel ride at the University of Kent.

The exercise involved around 15 firefighters and Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) specialist line rescue team based in Deal.

It was designed to test KFRS’s operational response to this type of incident, but to also work with University of Kent staff and the operators of the ride.

The scenario involved the crews using a turntable ladder, which is based at Canterbury fire station, to rescue a distressed casualty from one of the 24 pods on the 33m high Ferris wheel.

Once crews had the turntable ladder in place, they were able to reach the first casualty, who was placed in a safe access harness and safely lowered to the ground in the ladder cage.

Another casualty was injured on a gantry and was rescued by two firefighters who administered first aid and secured the casualty into a multi-integrated body splint stretcher (MIBS) and then using the safe access equipment, they were safely lowered to the ground.

As part of the exercise, the specialist rope rescue team responded to another casualty that needed rescuing from the mid section of the wheel.

KFRS Crew Manager Trevor Cox said, “Incidents like this are very rare, but on the occasions they happen we need to be prepared and know the types of challenges and difficulties our crews will face.” www.kent.fire-uk.org

Hampshire extrication team on top again

Hampshire firefighters were recently crowned national extrication champions at the UK's biggest rescue competition.

After battling against 23 UK fire and rescue services in road traffic collision scenarios, the Hampshire team took the winner’s title at the UK Rescue Challenge (UKRO) held at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire.

The national competition, which spanned over two days, had three categories: extrication, trauma and rope rescue.

As well as winning the extrication challenge, the Hampshire team also took second place in the trauma challenge.

Both teams were given a range of demanding and challenging scenarios that put their skills to the test, including extricating two casualties from a collision involving an HGV and a car and dealing with an explosion which resulted in seven casualties.

Group Manager Jerry Leonard, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said, “We are immensely proud to have such talented and professional firefighters within Hampshire.

These competitions offer great learning opportunities for firefighters all around the country so that we can all respond to emergency situations in the best possible way.

“To be crowned national champions is so rewarding for all the hard work and training that our firefighters do. We are also very pleased that the Hampshire team will now go forward to represent the UK at the World Rescue Challenge held in Brazil next year.” www.hantsfire.gov.uk

New AIR Unit to support firefighters at incidents

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has launched a new flying AIR Unit to support the work of firefighters at operational incidents.

The unit can provide an unrivalled view of an incident ground to support firefighters and officers in managing a range of situations safely and effectively.

The AIR Unit, which stands for Aerial Imagery Reconnaissance, will be available 24/7 and its launch follows a successful three month trial held in 2014.

During incidents, it will be able to retrieve high definition (HD) and infra-red (IR) real-time images and footage to help those in charge make decisions quickly. It is controlled using a bespoke computer tablet, utilising a simple point and click map based navigation system designed to military specifications.

In addition to emergencies, the unit can also be used in situations such as training exercises to take footage and images that can be used to further improve fire fighting.

A team of pilots has been trained to operate the unit, which also includes a vehicle that will respond to incidents on blue lights.

Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said, “The future fire fighting project has, for several years, been looking at how new equipment and techniques can improve firefighter and public safety and help deal with incidents more effectively and efficiently.

This has already seen the service implement a wall-piercing high pressure lance to fight fires and new multi-layered fire kit. “Not only will the AIR Unit footage provide an excellent debrief tool, it means GMFRS has the potential to create a database of footage and images that would be an excellent training resource for developing firefighters.”

The unit is an Aeryon SkyRanger, a lightweight quad-copter which, due to its compact stowage in a single case, can be transported and deployed in a very short time frame. www.manchesterfire.gov.uk

National search dog training exercise benefits dog handlers

A three day national search dog training exercise for live scent rescue dogs and their handlers recently took place at Station 60, National Resilience, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS).

The event was organised and coordinated by dog handler Paul West, who is part of the National Resilience team, based at DSFRS headquarters.

Three carefully selected locations were chosen to fully test the skills of both the handlers and their dogs, ranging from open terrain on Woodbury Common, a local Exmouth college, to a collapsed building scenario, vehicles and rigs based at service headquarters, Clyst St George.

Paul explained, “There is a huge benefit for handlers as well as their dogs at these training events, as they experience a variety of live scenarios in different environments.

Loud equipment noise and distractions are all part of the training to observe the level of focus. “The exercises give the handlers the chance to see if there are any issues for their dog that they need to focus on – better to find out while training, than at a real incident. “

Handlers have travelled from as far as Scotland and Wales. This is also part of the dogs training so they experience being transported long distances and living in a van for three or four nights.

” The dogs work up and down the UK for situations like the recent explosion in July at the Wood Treatment plant in the village of Bosley, Cheshire. They attend gas explosions, collapsed structures, major road traffic collisions and missing persons. They also team up with coastguards on cliff, riverbank and estuary searches. www.dsfire.gov.uk


































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Thursday 2 June, 2016 9:21 AM