Londoners Watch Firefighters Compete

The host London Fire Brigade invited the general public to watch the largest UK firefighter competition of the year and to learn about keeping themselves and others safe from fires.

Thirty-six British teams and a guest team from Spain took part in the largest UK firefighter competition of the year, the UK Rescue Challenge London 2011, on Sept. 23-24 at the ExCeL London facility, which is one of the London 2012 Olympics venues. The event featured an array of challenges; an expo with exhibitors displaying thermal imagers, apparel, and rescue tools and equipment; and a Community Safety Village where members of the public could learn about in-home fire hazards, arson prevention, and fire safety education for schoolchildren.

Several times each day, there were demonstrations involving fire dogs that work with arson investigators.

The London Fire Brigade hosted the event and fielded one of the teams. LFB said the competing firefighters came from fire and rescue services across England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to showcase their rescue skills and state-of-the-art equipment in complex rescue disciplines. Inside and outdoor areas of the event were designated for extrication, trauma, rope rescue, urban search and rescue, and water rescue.

"By participating in this event, our firefighters get a chance to hone their skills, test new equipment, and try new ways of rescuing people. Different brigades get to learn from each other, and this helps improve how we rescue casualties at real incidents," London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Hamm, who is in charge of firefighter training, said prior to the event. "We are hoping that Londoners will show us their support by turning up at the event and see for themselves what we do to keep them safe."

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