Leicestershire firefghter, Ian Nuttall from Rossendale, Lancashire, has been awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to undertake research in Canada and the USA focussing on rescue teams who have attended large scale disasters. 

Ian was a member of the 61 strong UK Fire and Rescue Service International Search and Rescue Team (UK-ISAR) mobilised to New Zealand to help search and rescue efforts following the 6.3 Richter scale earthquake, which hit Christchurch February 21, 2011 causing widespread destruction and multiple fatalities in the city centre. 

Ian said: "The main aim of UK-ISAR is to help with rescue efforts in natural disasters and it was a privilege to be able to use the knowledge and skills that I have learnt to benefit both the New Zealand authorities and the families of the victims. The task the UK team was given was demanding and technically difficult, we had to systematically deconstruct an entire office block. It took over 150 hours of round the clock operations to complete, but we successfully recovered all the victims. I now aim to use this personal experience of being deployed to a disaster to assist with my Travelling Fellowship. I will be meeting with rescue teams and their members to share experiences from other large scale disasters, and to see what can be learnt from both attending these type of events as well as training for them."  

Ian is a graduate from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Environmental Geoscience. In 2003, he joined Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service as an operational firefighter; transferring to a specialist Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue Team in 2006. He has a Diploma in Specialist Rescue from Coventry University and in 2009 was chosen to be a member of Leicestershire's contingent of the UK Fire and Rescue Service's volunteer International Search and Rescue (UK ISAR) Team.  


Posted: 10.15am, 29.03.11