Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Pete Smith has spoken about the "acts of bravery carried out" by fire crews, other emergency services, voluntary agencies and members of the public, following last Friday's incident.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Pete Smith said: "Firefighters and control operators did everything they could in extremely distressing circumstances to save lives. Firefighters fully used their skills and training to carry out extraordinary rescues from vehicles whilst working amongst dreadful circumstances.

"Without these act of courage, undertaken in these appalling conditions, more people would have unquestionably lost their lives. Whilst recognising the incredible work carried out on the night, it would not be possible at this stage to single out individual acts of courage.

"The service is now in a process of information gathering to understand the sequence of events from the incident, and as part of that process the selfless acts of courage and heroism carried out by staff that went above and beyond the call of duty will be recognised.

"We have a duty to look after our firefighters, so we have a number of systems in place so that straight after a critical incident they can speak to trained colleagues to de-fuse the situation.

"Defusing provides an opportunity for firefighters to talk about their emotional and negative stressful thoughts and feelings after attending a critical incident. The process reinforces that what they are feeling is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. This defusing process helps the worker normalise his/her reactions and continue on his/her capacity as an effective worker.

"We also have professional counselling services available with over 17 years' experience in trauma care if they want on-going care."

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Posted November 7th, 2011 at 1615 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: