South Yorkshire fire crews put to rescue test

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre
Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre
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Firefighters put their skills to the test in a smoke-logged city centre building where casualties needed to be rescued.

The major incident broke out at a disused building – Weston House at Westbar Green – and 999 calls received by operators suggested people were trapped inside.

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

However, the rescue operation mounted to save the casualties was a practice, to give firefighters the chance to hone and perfect their skills.

The aim of the exercise was to test incident command and control procedures as well as firefighting skills inside buildings.

Fire crews also practised search and rescue operation, the use of breathing apparatus and casualty handling

On arrival at the building, which had been filled with smoke, firefighters were told a number of people were still inside.

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

A South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue spokesman said: “The exercise formed part of an ongoing aim to continually improve major emergency response procedures.”

Station manager Trevor Bernard said: “Thankfully, large-scale incidents such as this are quite rare, but testing our crews with ‘live’ exercises is vital to ensure they are prepared if something like this does occur.

“On arrival, the crews were faced with a difficult rescue scenario.

“Wearing breathing apparatus, firefighters entered the smoke-filled building and recovered all the casualties, bringing the exercise to a successful conclusion.”

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

Emergency services regularly carry out exercises to test their responses to major incidents.

Some of the exercises involve all the 999 services practising their techniques together for when all the specialities are needed.

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre

Firefighters on a training exercise in Sheffield city centre