Herts BA national champsA team from Blue Watch at Stevenage Fire Station has triumphed at the National Breathing Apparatus Challenge held at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire, beating off stiff competition from 12 other fire services from around the UK.

Watch Commander Steve Wintrip said “I am extremely proud of my watch for winning this prestigious award. The team approached this competition in a very professional manner and put in a great performance. They have been a credit to themselves and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.”

The challenge saw each team tested in a realistic training scenario with a fire developing in a complex industrial building and people reported missing inside.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus had to demonstrate their skills in both firefighting and search and rescue, extinguishing the fire and rescuing casualties, all the while sticking to the vital safety and incident command procedures.

At the end of the day, Hertfordshire’s team emerged victorious, with the crew’s Commander Wintrip singled out as the best incident commander in addition to the team award.

Richard Thake, Herts Cabinet Member for Community Safety, added: “Hertfordshire can be proud to have the best firefighters in the country. We put a lot of time and effort into training our crews and this victory shows how that is paying dividends. “While this was a competition scenario, our crews put these skills to practical use every day keeping the people of Hertfordshire safe.”

The event is held annually to promote firefighter safety and best operational practice - to see images from the event visit