Off duty firefighters praised after lending a hand

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service

A crew of off duty firefighters have been praised after they helped rescue the occupant of a car crash – as they travelled to a national extrication competition.

On Thursday, 16th September, the firefighters from West Midlands Fire Service were travelling to Tyneside to compete in the ‘Festival of Rescue’.

They were looking to showcase their extrication skills in the two-day event on the Quayside that was hosted by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS).

But as they arrived on Newcastle’s Central Motorway just after 5pm they were confronted by a one-vehicle collision.

The single occupant of the vehicle involved was trapped inside and the Birmingham-based crew were on scene before emergency services had arrived.

The team, from Northfield Fire Station, rushed to the vehicle, secured a cordon and helped co-ordinate the emergency service response.

The occupant of the vehicle was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries but the response of the off-duty crew ensured he was attended to as quickly as possible.

Now senior fire officers have praised the efforts of the team and said it showed the ‘collaborative spirit’ of the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) event.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “We were incredibly proud to host the Festival of Rescue which really show-cased the region, and the skill of fire and rescue services from across the country.

“The response to this incident shows just how determined members of the fire family are to keep our communities safe and that was what this festival was all about.

“I want to personally thank our West Midlands colleagues for providing a safe working space for our crews.”

Chief Fire Officer for West Midlands Fire Service, Phil Loach, said: “I am extremely proud of our firefighters from Northfield who responded assertively, effectively and safely during this incident, to help the occupant of the vehicle.

“In this instance, our firefighters were in the right place at the right time and acted instinctively. I commend them on their proactivity whilst away from the West Midlands. The crews cooperation with local emergency services proved valuable.

“I’m pleased we were able to offer our assistance, and would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the West Midlands Fire service to wish the occupant of the vehicle, a safe and full recovery.”

Anthony Busst, Northfield Fire Station Crew Commander, said: “When we saw the collision we knew we had the training to be able to assist local emergency services so didn’t hesitate to stop.

“We were first on the scene and our priority was making the area safe and offering reassurance to the occupant of the vehicle.

“Our thoughts are with them as they continue to recover from their injuries and we are just glad we were able to do something to help.”

The West Midland Fire Service extrication team was made up of Anthony Busst, Andrew Connolly, Rhys Suban, Lee Renenhan and Andrew Butler.

The UKRO ‘Festival of Rescue’ was a two day event on Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides that held five different challenges, Rope Rescue, Water Rescue, Trauma Care, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and Extrication.