Carlow & Meath Fire Services are tops in International Challenges

Date Published : November 11th, 2015    Published By : admin

Twenty-nine teams from sixteen countries participated in The Extrication Challenge which was held at the Interschutz Emergency Services Tradeshow in Hannover, Germany. Ireland was represented at the competition by Meath County Fire & Rescue Service, who are the current top Irish rescue team having won the Irish National Rescue Challenge in Cork in April.

These rescue challenge events place fire service teams in realistic crash rescue scenarios and challenge them to use all their levels of skill and experience in rescuing live ‘casualties’ from crashed vehicles. The specialist training in preparation for these events is done by the crew outside of normal training hours and shows the dedication of the fire service personnel in being the best that they can in rescuing road traffic collision victims from life-threatening situations.

960 Meath Team - Holmatro Challenge
Photo: Meath team: (Alan Campbell (Navan), Dave Snowe (Ashbourne), Paul Colleran (Oldcastle), Nicky Brunton (Oldcastle), Alan Egan (Dunshaughlin), Keith Russell (Navan) and ACFO Pádraig Ó Longaigh)

The team from Meath County Fire & Rescue Service excelled in Hannover and received First Place in this prestigious and unique international emergency services event. ‘IC’ Paul Colleran also received an award for the Best Incident Commander in the Holmatro Extrication Challenge.

Speaking to Emergency Times, Meath’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Pádraig Ó Longaigh said “It was a great achievement and shows the level of training and commitment within Meath County Fire & Rescue Service  but also shows the knowledge and training given to the Irish Fire Services who can compete at the highest levels worldwide.”

World Rescue Challenge 2015 – Lisbon

Ireland featured highly in the overall results in the recent World Rescue Organisation challenge in Lisbon, Portugal. This event incorporated an Extrication Challenge and a Trauma Challenge,

The World Rescue Organisation (WRO) Challenge sees the World’s best rescue teams compete annually in an event designed to challenge emergency service personnel and raise awareness of the global problems of road death and injury. The challenge consists of 3 different scenarios with marks awarded for each scenario and combined to give an overall placing.

960 Carlow in action
Photo: (Carlow Team in action at WRO)

In total, sixty-eight teams from thirty-four fire & rescue services from across the globe took part in each challenge. Ireland was represented by the following County Fire & Rescue teams in two categories. (i) Extrication: Meath, Carlow and Laois and (ii) Trauma: Wicklow, Meath, Carlow, Laois and Motorsport Rescue Services.

Carlow County Fire & Rescue Service took home three awards while Meath County Fire & Rescue Service were joint 2nd Overall and the team Incident Commander Paul Colleran was 2nd in the overall category of Best Incident Commander.

960 Meath IMG_4166
Photo: Meath team at WRO: (ACFO Pádraig Ó Longaigh, Alan Egan, Alan Campbell, Keith Russell, Nicky Brunton, Paul Colleran, Dave Snowe)

The Team from County Carlow, which was made up of Fire-Fighters from Carlow Town, Bagenalstown and Tullow stations have done themselves and their county proud by bringing home 3 awards from the event. They won 1st placed in the Complex Rescue Awards, 2nd placed Best Technical Team and 3rd place Incident Commander.

The Carlow team consisted of Station Officer Andrew Hickey (Tullow), Driver/Mechanic Darren Somers (Tullow), Driver/Mechanic Paul Curran (Carlow), Fire Fighter Alan Owens (Carlow), Fire Fighter Jonathan Doran (Carlow) and Fire Fighter Andrew Fisher (Bagenalstown). Carlow’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Michael Gahan from Carlow was also involved at the event engaged by the WRO as an Official Assessor.

960 Carlow in the Complex
Photo: (Carlow team in action at WRO Challenge)

Chief Fire Officer Gerard W. Guerin told Emergency Times “I am very proud of the teams achievements and thank the members of the team, their families, colleagues from the brigades particularly senior assistant chief fire Officer Alan O’Neill (Team Manager), station officer John Comerford, members of the Civil Defence, the National Ambulance Service and all involved in preparing the team to compete at such a high level which has been ongoing for many months”.

Mr. Guerin also said “the rewards from competing at such an event clearly translate to delivering a higher level of service to our communities, particularly when road traffic collisions occur, resulting in people being trapped and in need of extrication and medical assistance”.

WRO 2015  Carlow Winners of the Complex Scenario
Photo: (Florida Chief Fire Officer Dan Zinge with Carlow team: Jonathan Doran, Alan Owens, Paul Curran, IC Andy Hickey, Andy Fisher, Darren Somers and Mayor of Lisboa, Carlos Costra)

Meath’s Pádraig Ó Longaigh is WRO’s Republic of Ireland Secretary. He told “To be ranked so highly amongst your international peers is a proud achievement for the Irish teams who attended this event. When it comes to RTC & Trauma training and expertise Rescue Organisation Ireland and its teams can justifiably claim to be world leaders. The training and dedication that these rescue teams have put in over the past 12 months and longer has been immense and I am delighted to see it has been so well recognised”.

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