London Fire Brigade

Firefighters embark on record breaking 'Limo chop' to save lives

14 September 2012

Firefighters are set to embark on a record-breaking car-cut up on Monday, when they remove the roofs of five stretch limousines and Hummers as part of a drive to improve emergency service response at the scene of serious road traffic accidents.

Firefighters from London Fire Brigade and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service will take part in the exercise, which will be at the headquarters of Surrey FRS in Reigate on Monday 17 September at 9am. They will be attempting the world record for the world’s longest ‘roof flap,’ determined by the length of the roofs they will be removing from the cars.

The cars, which were being used illegally to ferry people to and from parties, had been removed from service and were given to the fire service for crews to practice their life-saving skills on. At the scene of road traffic accidents, firefighters often have to use specialist equipment to remove the roofs of cars in order to rescue trapped people.

The exercise comes just weeks before London Fire Brigade hosts the World Rescue Challenge, which will be the biggest firefighter event in the world and will see fire crews from across the globe practice the vital rescue and first aid skills they provide to those with injuries at the scene of serious incidents like road traffic accidents. The event is free to members of the public and takes place at ExCeL London on 18-20 October.

Watch Manager, Nick Burge, from the London Fire Brigade, who will be at the exercise, said:

“It’s extremely unusual to have the opportunity to cut up limos and Hummers. It’s so unusual in fact, that we’re going to enter it as a world record attempt. This will be a great chance for us to practice our life-saving rescue skills as these cars present different challenges than normal sized cars.

“It will be an excellent warm-up for the World Rescue Challenge as both London Fire Brigade and Surrey FRS are entering teams to take part.

A spokesperson for Surrey Fire & Rescue Service said:

“Chopping up cars against the clock might seem like a bit of light-hearted fun but exercises like this have a serious point. They help us to hone and improve our rescue skills and this will hopefully lead to more lives being saved at the scene of car accidents.

“People might think there’d be some rivalry between the two fire brigades, but actually this is all about learning new skills from one another rather than competing to be the best.”


Notes to editors

Information for media

The ‘Limo Chop’ event will be at Surrey Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, Croydon Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0EJ.

Media are invited to attend the exercise – please contact Emma Cullen at the London Fire Brigade press office on 020 8536 5922  / 0777 411 2351 or

His res photos will be available shortly after the exercise.

World Rescue Challenge 2012 

This video of last year’s UK Rescue Challenge will give you an idea of what the World Rescue Challenge 2012 is all about:

More info about the WRC , including free tickets, is here:

Follow all the action on Twitter @WorldRescue2012 using #WorldRescue

For photos and event updates:

The World Rescue Challenge will see firefighter rescue teams competing in a range of rescue challenges and demonstrations including:

• Extrication - firefighters will take part in timed challenges to see which team can rescue ‘casualties’ from crushed cars in the quickest and most efficient way
• Trauma -  actors wearing makeup and prosthetics are made to look as though they’ve been involved in a serious accident and firefighters will compete to give them the quickest and best medical care
 Rope – crews will scale 30 foot scaffolding and using ropes and rescue gear will rescue ‘casualties’ and bring them back to ground
• Water – parachutists will float down from helicopters into the docks outside ExCeL and rescue teams will rush into the water on speedboats and use specialist rescue gear to pull them from the water
• Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) – USAR firefighters are specially trained to rescue people who are trapped or buried. The USAR demo will see London firefighters showing off their skills and the equipment they use to lift, cut, and remove rubble from collapsed buildings or locate people who are trapped