Hampshire firefighting tactics to be used in the US

Published:  01 July, 2016

VIDEO: Firefighting tactics devised on the training grounds of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in the UK could soon be saving lives on the other side of the Atlantic.

This is the view of Sisters-Camp Sherman Deputy Fire Chief Tim Craig, who said he and his team would be taking back new skills and strategies to the city in Deschutes County, Oregon, US.

Craig said that the group’s time in Hampshire could influence a wide range of activities back home, ranging from basement fires, incident handover and the role of tactical advisors.

However, Craig said the SAVE model created by Assistant Chief Officer Andy Bowers was the approach that he was most excited about: ‘Ultra-high pressure lances have not yet taken off in the US but having now used one myself I can see the difference they would make particularly when combined with our thermal imaging cameras.

‘The trip has been really eye-opening and you gain so much just from having a cup of tea with somebody from a different service.

‘I know when the Hampshire firefighters came to visit we learnt as much as they took away with them.

‘We also have an innovative fire department and I think this is why a relationship with Hampshire is so natural.

‘The visit has been extremely interesting, I cannot overstate how useful it is to have this experience.’

SAVE stands for Scan (with a thermal imaging camera), Attack (with an ultra-high pressure lance), Ventilate and Enter.

The five firefighters from Oregon, who were integrated into busy watches in Southampton and Portsmouth, also got to see the UK's leading animal rescue team and the New Forest wildfire preparation division as well as projects focusing on community resilience and safety. They also experienced command assessments and tactical briefings in addition to meeting Hampshire F&R Chief Officer Dave Curry.

The exchange trip followed an earlier visit by Hampshire firefighters who visited the US last year to learn about wildfires and to learn different approaches to major incidents and community work.

Hampshire Station Manager Glenn Bowyer said: 'Hosting this trip was of huge benefit and it is fair to say we learnt a lot as well as showing our visitors how we do things.

‘We tried to showcase a bit of everything we do and I think working with the stations was definitely a highlight.

‘We took them out on a police boat from which you could see the refinery, the city centre, the high rises and the New Forest. I think it really showed the diversity of the work we do.

‘We spoke about our approach to historic buildings, visited the airport and did live fire exercises on the training ground.’

‘We certainly kept them busy.’

Bowyer added that the services were looking forward to an ongoing relationship and in the future they would be sharing their skills and experience around medical response.

While the firefighters from Hampshire were in the US they formed part of a team that battled a 75,000-acre wildfire – the largest burning in the country at the time.

The 12-day visit to the county started on June 6 and ended on June 17.

  • Operation Florian

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