London's firefighters are rescuing almost 120 people a week, on average, according to new figures from London Fire Brigade.

Of these, around a third are being rescued from fires but the rest involve firefighters using specialist equipment to rescue people from places ranging from crashed cars, to cranes, rivers and unstable buildings.

Across the country, firefighters are carrying out more than 1,600 such specialist rescues every week.

The figures reveal the range of skills demanded of today's firefighters, with the complex rescues requiring firefighters to be trained in using a range of equipment including high-powered saws, safety ropes and boats.

Firefighters from across the UK showcased these skills and many others at a national firefighter competition over the weekend.

Teams from 36 fire brigades competed in events to see who could carry out the quickest and safest rescues with crews competing in four disciplines: extrication, trauma, rope rescue and USAR.

Speaking before the event London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Hamm, in charge of firefighter training, said: "Fire crews across the country are attending numerous rescues every day.

"Putting our firefighters' skills to the test against other brigades will help make sure that when we are called in to action, we're as ready as we can be.

"By participating in this event, our firefighters get a chance to hone their skills, test new equipment and try new ways of rescuing people.

"Different brigades get to learn from each other and this helps improve how we rescue casualties at real incidents. People who come to the event can cheer on their local firefighters and see for themselves what it takes to keep them safe."

In addition to the Challenge, the free event also featured a Community Safety Village where the public were able to learn about how to prevent and escape from fires.

The Village was the Brigade's own addition to the annual UK Rescue Challenge event which aims to actively engage with London's diverse communities and raise awareness of the various initiatives the Brigade runs to reduce the number of fires happening in London. 

Throughout the two days, various demonstrations took place, including a live water rescue, where firefighters used their boats and specialist equipment to rescue casualties from a sunken vehicle simulator.

Various community safety demonstrations such as the Brigade's sniffer dogs exercise and a life sized hazard house, highlighting potential fire hazards in the home, also took place at the event.

The Brigade hosted the event on behalf of UKRO, the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation.


Posted September 26th, 2011 at 0935 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: