THIS week marks the anniversary of 9/11. Nearly 3,000 people from all over the world died in the attacks on the World Trade Centre – 343 of these were firefighters from the New York Fire Department.
When any member of the Fire & Rescue Service dies in the line of operational duty it makes you reflect on the dangers of Fire and Rescue.
Ever since 9/11 the Fire and Rescue Service has been developing its capability to respond more effectively to natural disasters, large-scale accidents and the threat of terrorism, as well as day-to-day incidents.
MF&RS was selected as one of the original teams that make up National Resilience across the UK.
In Merseyside we have excellent specialist provision including an Urban Search and Rescue Team, High Volume Pumps, Specialist Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Officers, a canine team, along with specially designed modules that carry equipment for use at rescues, such as concrete cutting chain saws, search cameras and listening devices.
You may remember the crane collapse in Liverpool in 2009. This saw the Search & Rescue Team (SRT), which is based at Croxteth Community Fire Station, deployed along with our canine team to locate casualties trapped in the building. On a national level the team attended the tragic scene in Atherstone on Stour in 2007 where four firefighters lost their lives in a warehouse fire.
MF&RS also supports our neighbouring Fire and Rescue Service’s and have deployed numerous times to areas within the UK for flood response. All operational firefighters in Merseyside are trained in “still water rescue” for inland lakes and canals, the SRT is also trained in “swift water rescue” for areas including the River Mersey.
The SRT has also deployed internationally during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, to Texas, USA, which has helped build our excellent reputation supported by Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens who holds the national lead for Urban Search and Rescue.
Next time I will tell you about the new Birkenhead Community Fire Station which is currently being built.