Emergency response

As well as fighting fires, firefighters in Tyne and Wear are trained and equipped to deal with a huge range of incidents and rescues.

Our response covers the initial 999 call through to the conclusion of an incident. Our control room team is highly skilled at co-ordinating responses, as well as providing expert advice to the public in times of emergency.

You can find more information on incident types and response types in our performance reports.

Road traffic collisions

We deal with traffic accidents every day, ranging from low speed single car collisions to high speed multi-vehicle crashes involving cars, lorries and buses.

Our specialist cutting equipment ensures the safe and speedy rescue of casualties trapped in vehicles.

Firefighters receive first aid training and carry the equipment needed to administer oxygen, fit neck collars and place casualties on specialist stretchers.

We also attend rail, aircraft and water incidents that involve fire or rescue.

Rope rescue

We have specialist teams of firefighters who are highly trained in rope rescue.

They’re based in South Tyneside and form part of our response to incidents where people or animals need rescuing from inaccessible places like cliffs, cranes, bridges and confined spaces.

Watch our firefighters training to carry out rope rescues:

Water rescue

All of our appliances carry the equipment needed to carry out rescues from inland water, such as reservoirs and rivers. This includes:

  • lifejackets
  • throw lines
  • inflatable hoses
  • boats

Our firefighters are trained to national standards (Level 1 Water Awareness) and can carry out rescues on ice, mud and other unstable ground.

We also have firefighters based at Byker Fire Station who are specialists in water rescue. We have even provided water rescue training to firefighters in Moldova as part of Operation Florian.

Watch a swift water rescue training exercise:

Animal rescue

From cats stuck up trees to large animal rescues that call for specialist lifting equipment, our crews don’t just save human lives.

Animal rescues can be dangerous, due to the conditions that have caused the animal to become trapped. Also, firefighters don’t always know how the animal will react.

We have a wide range of specialist rescue equipment, including a full size dummy horse for realistic training.

Confined space rescue

Tyne and Wear firefighters are trained to rescue people and animals in places where access is difficult, including places like wells, shafts, sewers and tunnels.

We have specialist search and rescue teams and equipment, as this type of incident can be very dangerous for rescuers as well as those who are trapped. Watch them training:

Hazardous materials

As a service, we have to train and prepare ourselves for incidents involving chemicals, biological agents and gases.

We have the ability to decontaminate our firefighters and large numbers of the public in the event of a major incident. This limits the harmful effects of hazardous materials.

Our specialist vehicle carries equipment that can detect, identify and monitor potentially hazardous materials.

Watch a mass decontamination training exercise:

National resilience

Our specialist crews, equipment and capabilities mean we can play a key role in responding to major incidents nationwide, such as large-scale terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Our national assets include:

  • Urban Search and Rescue specialists
  • hazardous materials detection, identification and monitoring abilities
  • mass decontamination facilities
  • Swiftwater Rescue Team
  • high volume pump that can pump 7,000 litres of water across big distances using up to 3 kilometres of hose. Based at Swalwell Community Fire Station, it’s used to tackle floods and provide large amounts of water for firefighting at major incidents.

This video shows some of the specialist training that firefighters go through to prepare for emergencies:

We will also support County Durham and Darlington and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services in emergency situations.