Hot favourites: Sheffield firefighters in UK best crew finals

Search and rescue: A team break in to a smoke-filled building.
Search and rescue: A team break in to a smoke-filled building.
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FIREFIGHTERS from Sheffield have got through to the national final of a competition to find the country’s best crew at using breathing apparatus in rescues from burning or smoke-filled properties.

The team – members of White Watch at Sheffield Central fire station – competed with others from across the city for the right to take part in the National Breathing Apparatus Challenge later this year.

Making safety checks: Firefighters check their breathing equipment at the South Yorkshire Fire Service training centre in Handsworth as they prepare to compete.

Making safety checks: Firefighters check their breathing equipment at the South Yorkshire Fire Service training centre in Handsworth as they prepare to compete.

A team from neighbouring West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service also took part.

Crews had to prove their ability at controlling a fire and rescuing casualties from a smoke-filled property.

The exercise was set up at South Yorkshire Fire Service’s training centre in Handsworth.

Judges used a marking system which looked at health and safety issues, command and control and the use of correct procedures.

Help: With 'casualties' plucked to safety.                 Pictures: Peter Wolstenholme.

Help: With 'casualties' plucked to safety. Pictures: Peter Wolstenholme.

Crews had to develop a tactical plan based around the layout of the burning building, the route to the fire, and where the casualties were. Members also had relay information effectively to the incident commander and carry out a successful search and rescue mission.

Station manager Trevor Bernard, who won the prize for Top Incident Commander at the event, said: “This event is always a fantastic training opportunity for all the crews involved.

“It allows firefighters to test their incident command and rescue skills in extremely realistic scenarios. It also gives us an opportunity to benchmark ourselves against the other fire and rescue services involved in the challenge.”