London Fire Brigade

UK Rescue Challenge success for London Fire Brigade

27 September 2011

With nearly a year of preparations, hundreds of firefighters and literally tonnes of  heavy duty specialist equipment, last weekend saw London Fire Brigade hosting the country’s biggest and most prestigious firefighter event - UK Rescue Challenge London 2011.

The Challenge, hosted by the Brigade on behalf of UK Rescue Organisation (UKRO) at the award-winning Excel Centre, saw teams compete in four complex rescue disciplines, including, Trauma, USAR (Urban Search and Rescue), Rope Rescue and Extrication.

Extrication - Northern Ireland FRS  Rope rescue - London Fire Brigade

Based on reconstructions of real incidents, firefighters used their skills and specialist equipment to cut trapped casualties out of crashed cars, rescue people from cranes and collapsed buildings as well as provide emergency medical care until the paramedics’ arrival.

Hosted in the capital for the first time in the competition’s  nine-year history, the Challenge attracted teams from 36 fire and rescue services across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Four international teams from the Republic of Ireland, Germany and Spain also took part in the event.

London’s own team came first in the USAR discipline, with the Brigade’s Trauma and Rope Rescue crews making it into the top three. 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Andrews said: “Firefighters from across the country and Europe used the Challenge as an opportunity to test and hone their skills, trial new equipment and try new ways of rescuing people. Different brigades took the opportunity to learn from each other which will ultimately help improve how we rescue casualties at real incidents.

“Our own teams did exceptionally well, particularly the rope rescue and USAR crews,  as this was the first time they participated in the competition. Well done to all the participating teams and a huge thank you to everyone who supported us.“

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

Throughout the two days, around three thousands of spectators were drawn to the real-live water demonstrations, where firefighters used boats and specialist equipment to rescue casualties from water. Additionally, a parachute display and 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, took place at the event.

Trauma challenge - Cornwall FRS  Urban search & rescue - London Fire Brigade

A trade exhibition with representatives from the key fire industry organisations and  a rescue skills conference also ran alongside the Challenge.

Chair of UK Rescue Organisation (UKRO) Steve Apter said: “UKRO working with London Fire Brigade have put on a fantastic challenge that has provided an opportunity for firefighters to test their skills and enhance their learning within the extremely challenging environment that they face when  attending real incidents.

“This year’s event was a success and we look forward to the next year’s Challenge in Lincolnshire”.


For overall team results click here.