Rescue crews return following another successful competition

Hampshire and Isle of Wight firefighters competed on the national stage this weekend at the annual festival of rescue challenge.



19/09/2023 10:30am


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service

This year’s event was held in Lincolnshire and saw fire and rescue teams from across the UK come together to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in extrication, trauma, rope and water.

As well as competing, the team were able to attend education workshops covering modern tactics and best practice across each discipline.

The extrication challenge saw the team faced with a complex scenario which involved multiple vehicles, casualties and hazards. The team were tasked with extricating the casualties and then triaging them.


The rope team took on five scenarios over the weekend in addition to three question papers and a session on rope access technology.

One of the challenges they faced saw them construct a rope system to rescue and retrieve a casualty who had fallen from a height at Lincoln Cathedral.


The HIWFRS Extrication team took home third place, whilst the Rope Rescue team were named the second-best overall team beating competition from across the UK as well teams from Dublin and even Romania.

Officer in Charge of the Rope Rescue team, Crew Manager Alec Bowen said:

“UKRO continues to push the skills of fire and rescue technical rope teams from across the country. Attending the event provides an excellent opportunity to learn new methodology, test our current techniques and equipment, and prove our current capabilities through robust peer assessment. 

“2023 built on the previous years with the scenarios proving to be extremely challenging both mentally and physically with strong emphasis on rapid casualty access, stabilisation of injuries and then a casualty-centred movement to definitive care.

“Previous events have already led to the introduction of methods, equipment and future technologies, making firefighters and the communities we serve safer and more efficient. We’re looking forward to bringing this event’s learning into service.”

999999Watch Manager Rob Barrow said:

“The challenge saw teams and colleagues from across the country come together to share their expertise, enabling us to learn and share skills which we can then implement in own service which in turn helps the communities we serve when completing rescues”.

“Our team have worked extremely hard during training and have modernised tactics which include moving vehicles and enabling casualties to self-extricate after a medical assessment. We had the opportunity to implement these tactics during the challenge which led to a good result.

“I am looking forward to continuing to implement these casualty centred tactics to all teams within Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.”

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For the second year running the Festival of Rescue also included a special competition for Fire Cadets.

The HIWFRS headquarters in Eastleigh hosted the annual festival back in 2016, with Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin currently the Chair of UKRO.

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