Carlow, Meath & Laois make the cut at national RTC Challenge

Date Published : May 21st, 2017    Published By : admin

Fire and Rescue Teams from counties Carlow, Meath and Laois scored the highest in the National RTC Trauma and Extrication Challenge 2017 which was held in Navan, Co. Meat yesterday.

Overall, twelve teams participated in a range of challenges under two sections; (Extrication and Trauma) in three stages; (Standard, Rapid ad Complex).

Report: By Declan Keogh
Among the Irish teams were Fire & Rescue teams from counties Meath, Carlow, Laois and Wicklow while the Gardaí, Civil Defence and Tara Mines also entered teams into the challenge. This is the first year that An Garda Síochána have entered a team into the challenge.

ROI Carlow Team
Carlow Fire & Rescue Team (Photo: James Doyle)

The International teams consisted of teams from Hereford & Worchester Fire & Rescue Service in the UK and are from Barcelona in Spain, Albufeira in Portugal.

The RTC Trauma and Extrication Challenge is organised by the Rescue Organisation Ireland (ROI) which was established in 2008 and held their first ROI challenge in Dublin in 2009. The national challenge was also held in other counties and this is the ROI’s second time to stage the event in County Meath.  

We caught up with the Meath Gold Team and the Carlow Fire & Rescue Teams as they participated in their ‘Complex Scenarios’ separately. This scenario has two casualties in the vehicles, and this is the one thing about these challenges, live casualties are being used. The ROI does well to simulate as closely as possible to what a casualty might encounter inside a crashed vehicle out on the roadside.

ROI 2017 Meath team
Meath Team (Photo: James Doyle)

Some scenarios have 10 minutes and others had 30 minutes to compete. Ten minutes might seem like a lot of time to carry out a task, but when the clock starts, it doesn’t seem all that long before the whistle blows. Pádraig ‘O Longaigh is Acting Chief Fire Officer for Meath Fire Service and he is also Secretary of the Rescue Organisation Ireland. I began by asking asked Pádraig if the competitions are about working against the clock, does the fastest teams win and what are the teams marked on.

‘This is not really against the clock, this is about how much time they have and what they need to do within that time is employ best practice, how they use the tools, is the Incident Commander fully in charge of the team, has he got a Plan A, a Plan B, is the Medic looking after the casualty, is the Medic giving due care to the casualty, are the team then using the tools properly, effectively,  are they being safe about what they are doing and using best practice, so it’s not just about the time, it’s also about how they do it.

ROI 2017 Laois
Laois Team (Photo: James Doyle)

One of the scenarios is the ‘Complex Scenarios’. Pádraig also outlines to me what’s involved. ‘What you have here is a time critical casualty who needs to be out pretty quickly and another casualty who needs to be out but there is a little more time to play with. They have in total 30 minutes to get the causality out, employing safe procedures, best practices and at all times casualty centred care’.

Assessing the Teams

ROI 2017 Assessors
The Assessors (Photo: James Doyle)

The challenges have three essential areas of adjudication, first there is the Incident Commander (IC), an IC is watched by an Assessor, then the Medic is watched by an assessor and is marked accordingly and then there are the firefighters who make up the Technical Team and these make up the three strands to the whole thing.

International Dimension

ROI 2017 Albufeira
Albufeira, Portugal Team (Photo: James Doyle)

The ROI decided to begin this challenge in Ireland because of a lot of fatalities and incidents on our roads, and while the whole concept of rescue challenges has been around for approximately 20 or 30 years, Ireland has always included an international dimension to it.

ROI 2017 International Team
Barcelona, Spain Team (Photo: James Doyle)

Planning for the challenge each year takes months of ongoing work and preparation. The ROI committee is made of a strong team from various trauma, extrication and medical services. Pádraig O’ Longaigh says ‘There is a huge amount in planning of the event, we have a whole committee involved in Rescue Organisation Ireland from all over Ireland, from the HSE, Local Authority’s, Fire & Rescue Services, Motorsport Ireland and so on and we spend months in the planning of this’.

ROI 2017 Meath Team 2
Meath Team (Photo: James Doyle)

‘I wish to thank the fire crew in Navan and from around the county for all their help and assistance yesterday and all week in preparing the station and the exercises with us. They worked all day clearing sites and preparing for the next ones. I also want to thank Meath Civil Defence who, outside the participating teams, they also provided welfare and other essential assistance and of course, our sponsors and supporters who always support us each year.


The day ended with a Post Challenge Meal and Awards Ceremony at the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim.

a ROI Emergency Times Results

Photos and Video:

Emergency Times will have a photo album on our Flickr page and a full video of the RTC Challenge later this afternoon on our YouTube channel, in the meantime, here is a good example of how the Best Overall Team in Extrication worked, this is the Carlow Fire & Rescue Service team. 

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