On Monday 18 November firefighters from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service undertook a training exercise at the Big Wheel on Blackpool Central Pier. The exercise was to test for specialist rescue upon the Big Wheel and involved firefighters from Blackpool, South Shore and St Annes, Bamber Bridge and Chorley.
The rescue involved three casualties. One a dummy casualty which in the scenario was unconscious and time critical, and had to be rescued first using a triple extension ladder, one a ‘live’ casualty that was rescued by crew using a 13.5 ladder and finally another ‘live’ casualty that was stuck half way up the wheel.
The final rescue required the specialist skills of the Bamber Bridge and Chorley rope rescue team who used rope rescue equipment to rescue the casualty. Blackpool Station Manager, Ian Armistead attended from an Officer’s perspective and the Service drone also attended to give an aerial view of the rescue, both occurrences that would happen in a live incident.
Watch Manager, Pat Thompson, from Blackpool’s White Watch was the officer in charge of the incident, said: “we are extremely grateful to the team at Blackpool Pier for letting us use their venue for a training exercise. It is really important for our crews to be able to train at different and realistic locations and be ready for potential real life incidents.”
Gemma Broadley, General Manger from Blackpool Pier said: “We’ve had this training exercise planned in for a few months but have waited until the Pier wasn’t trading for it to go ahead and the firefighters have been so lucky with the weather today. We’ve been happy to offer this bespoke training venue to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and welcome this collaborative learning with emergency services to ensure there is joint learning and create a safer venue for all involved.”
Pat continued by saying; “The Big Wheel and Blackpool Pier is an iconic location in the North West and further afield and would no doubt attract a lot of media and public attention if an incident was to happen here. By having these relationships in place and whole-time and retained crews getting the opportunity to train means that the outcome is better for all involved.”
The Pier won’t be trading until February half term however is open on weekends throughout November weather dependant.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are recruiting for on-call firefighters until 6 December and there are opportunities for on-call staff at stations along the Fylde coast and further afield.