More than 100 people from fire and rescue services throughout the UK attended a conference at the headquarters of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services. The focus of the conference was research into the physiological and psychological effects on firefighters when operating in the extreme environmental conditions they regularly encounter. The research team evaluated the impact of immersing the hands and forearms in cold water in specially adapted chairs with reservoirs fitted in the arm rests, to cool down firefighters after strenuous activities performed in temperatures of around 50oC. Merseyside Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Bill Evans, said: "We believe the findings from this research is helping us to make our firefighters safer at major incidents and more able to deal with operating under high temperatures." The research has led to the launch of the 'Cool Van', a mobile recovery unit which carries a range of vital equipment for the physiological rehabilitation of firefighters at major incidents.