FIRE AID attends UKRO National Rescue Challenge

Thu 11, Oct, 2018

FIRE AID recently returned from a visit to Cardiff where our member UKRO hosted their annual National Challenge. The two-day event saw more than 600 of the UK’s most skilled firefighters compete in staged rope rescue, water rescue, vehicle rescue and urban search and rescue contests. Senior officers from across the UK attended the event showing fantastic support for their competing teams.

Guest teams from Taiwan, Belgium, Ireland and France were invited to join the challenge this year as a part of the UKRO International Development Programme. As the UKRO Challenge is unrivalled for showcasing the incredible skill and commitment of emergency service personnel, this was a great opportunity for international teams to share knowledge and learn new techniques and skills.

The challenge replicates real-life scenarios, requiring teams to respond within tight time frames to world-class technical, medical and command standards whilst constantly being assessed by UKRO and World Rescue Organisation (WRO) assessors. The assessors come from around the world to provide their expert experience and advice to assess competing teams.

This year the UKRO Challenge took over the Cardiff Bay area opening the event to the public and creating a Super Safety Village, which brought together over 80 local partners and organizations to provide fun activities and awareness information for families on fire, road, water and general community safety. Members of the public were given the opportunity to test firefighting kit and hear about life as a firefighter through South Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s young Fire Cadets.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway said, “We are extremely proud to host the UKRO Challenge for 2018 As a service we are as passionate about learning development as we are for making South Wales a safer place, with the rescue challenges and the Safety village, there will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to learn a little and leave safer!”

The final day of this years challenge was one of both celebration and sorrow as UKRO Chair, Steve Apter stood down after many years in the role. He said: “I wanted to take this moment to congratulate all of you for putting yourselves on the national stage and showing the skills that you have developed and provide in your host FRSs. Your efforts really do make a difference, and as I reflect on how far we as a Fire and Rescue Service have come, it has been great to see the highest standards that UKRO have aimed for during that journey.”

However, UKRO were delighted to announce the appointment of CFO Neil Odin as their next Chair. Neil had the pleasure of announcing the winning teams for the UKRO National Challenge 2018, which are as follows: South Wales team won first place for extrication and rope rescue whilst London won first place for urban research and rescue and Scotland came first in the water rescue challenge. Neil Odin said of the challenge: “My thanks also to South Wales for what was a dazzling challenge in Cardiff this year, as we look to next years national we take away some great memories and new ideas which ensures the UKRO rescue challenge remains the premier event for technical rescue within the UK.”

FIRE AID would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Apter for his many years of service to the UKRO and for his leadership in creating such a successful legacy. We would also like to welcome Neil Odin to his new post; we look forward to working with Neil in the future. Finally, good luck to all the teams who travel to the World Rescue Challenge in October, we will see you all again for the 2019 challenge!