Learning the ropes

Published:  11 May, 2010

Estonian and Hampshire firefighters have been working together to develop the rope rescue skills of the Eastern Europeans. For one week three firefighters from the Estonian fire service worked with the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service rope rescue team learning new techniques and different approaches to support this important area of work.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has one of the country’s top performing rope rescue teams, which last year won the rope section at the UKRO Rescue Challenge

Later this year it will be Hampshire’s turn to host the UKRO Rescue Challenge which will see up to 48 teams from around the country competing in rope rescue, vehicle extrication and trauma care.

The Estonian visit was made possibly through European Union Exchange of Expert Systems funding which is available for training gains and organised by THW in Germany.

Last year the Hampshire team were asked to go to Estonia and train them in urban search and rescue shoring techniques.

The Estonian fire service is currently working towards United Nations accreditation for international search and rescue operations, which the UK has had for a number of years.

As a result of this accreditation, the UK International Search and Rescue team was able to be deployed to Haiti after a devastating earthquake struck earlier this year.

Crew Manager Dave Heybourne heads up the Hampshire rope rescue team. He said: “Managing a rope rescue is a complex operation involving a significant level of skill and it is those skills that we have shared with our Eastern European colleagues. The training week ran very smoothly and we believe the team went away with a greater knowledge that will help them advance towards UN accreditation.

“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to sharing Best Practice and we work with a number of partner organisations to ensure both ourselves and our partners are trained to the highest standards.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will be hosting the UK Rescue Challenge from September 30 to October 2 at its headquarters in Eastleigh. To find out more about the event, please visit www.ukro.org

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