The West Midlands Fire Service will be running two realistic, interactive challenges in a new road safety feature during the two-day event, taking place at the NEC.

The Extrication and First Aid & Trauma Challenges will provide a testing arena for colleagues from around the UK to meet and develop their proficiency levels in all areas of road traffic collision (RTC) rescue.

Best safe-working practices will be in the spotlight as skills including incident command and control, safety and scene assessment, extrication, professional pre-hospital care and expert use of rescue equipment are put to the test.

The West Midlands Fire Service's Chief Fire Officer, Phil Loach, said: “We’re extremely proud of our strong links with The Emergency Services Show and are delighted that it goes from strength to strength at the NEC, its West Midlands ‘home’.

“The event showcases inspiring examples of how public and commercial organisations are working together to find solutions that help us work more efficiently, effectively and safely. This includes the innovative use of technology.

“Ultimately, of course, they’re examples of how we’re all identifying and developing ways of keeping our communities safe.”

With over 400 exhibiting companies and organisations, the show is the UK’s largest event for the emergency services. It is supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Fire and Transport Officers Group, United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO), the National Operational Guidance Programme and JESIP.

The Extrication Challenge, judged by UKRO, will take place on the exhibition floor, allowing visitors to get close to the action. The scenarios will include a car on its wheels, one on its side and another on its roof.

The vehicles will feature heavy and complex damage, along with a ‘live’ casualty trapped inside.

Teams from UK fire and rescue services will have 20 minutes from their ‘arrival’ on these simulated crash scenes to complete as much of the scenario as is safely possible.

Crew Commander James Cotton, one of the West Midlands Fire Service's RTC training experts, said: “Challenges such as this are designed to test and improve firefighters’ skills so they’re able to deliver the most professional response and service to our communities when they’re called upon for real.

“The design of vehicles is constantly changing, as are the challenges they pose to our crews who respond to real-life collisions.

“In the West Midlands we train hard to respond to serious incidents in just five minutes. Then, like our colleagues nationwide, we instantly call on our training and professionalism to provide the safest, most effective resolution possible. Challenges develop those taking part and, ultimately, benefit the casualties who need us when it matters.”

The West Midlands Fire Service will also be staging their First Aid & Trauma Challenge at The Emergency Services Show.

Teams of two will experience visual and audio inputs from an incident that has been set up and filmed especially, in an ‘immersive’ tent. They’ll face a realistic trauma scenario and have 10 minutes to assess, treat, ‘package’ and handover the patient to a medic.

Adding even more realism will be members of the West Midlands Fire Service's Casualty Simulation Group (CSG) whose volunteers play the roles of casualties year-round for our training events and exercises, complete with make-up and prosthetics.

As well as facilitating the challenges, they'll have one of the major stands at the show.

Visitors will be able to find out more about the wide range of fire safety training the West Midlands Fire Service offers. This includes many courses designed to help businesses and organisations comply with fire safety legislation – from how to carry out and act upon a fire risk assessment, through to helping people escape should fire still break out.

Members of their People Support Services and Occupational Health teams will be showcasing their work to foster excellent employee relations, train and develop the WMFS's diverse workforce and to protect their staff’s health and wellbeing.

The West Midlands Fire Service's education and prevention work, including the support we give to people who live with mental or physical health issues, will also feature. We work closely with many partner organisations to identify any risks to, or health and care needs of, our most vulnerable residents.

The West Midlands Fire Service's Fire Control is at the heart of delivering vital services to people in Staffordshire and across the West Midlands, and uses some of the country’s most technologically advanced systems to help them have the right people and resources in the right place at the right time.

Staff will be explaining how their intelligence-led approach complements our prevention, protection and response activities.

Displays will also include virtual reality video and goggles used by the West Midlands Fire Service's Road Casualty Reduction Team to educate drivers about the consequences of their choices and actions. And the WMFS's fire investigation dogs Kai and Cara (together with their handler, Mat) are also expected to make an appearance!

As well as a major stand in the main hall, West Midlands Fire Service will also have firefighters competing against the clock in live operational challenges which would make for great footage and pics.

The show takes place on 20 and 21 September. Entry to the exhibition and seminars, as well as parking, is free.

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