Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service firefighter attends Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship
Andy Reynolds, a firefighter with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, has just returned from a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship (www.wcmt.org.uk) in North America.
During six weeks, he attended flood and swiftwater rescue training, and visited Fire and Sheriffs’ Departments and volunteer rescue teams from California, Texas, North and South Carolina, New York and British Columbia.
Cornwall and the UK have seen many large-scale flooding incidents in recent years and North America leads the way in their approach to these types of events; not just in rescue but in planning, community involvement and education. As part of his Fellowship, Andy qualified as a swiftwater powerboat and jet-ski operator, as well as participating in helicopter aquatic rescue training and river rescue classes.
'Although my personal skills have increased dramatically, and I look forward to sharing that with colleagues, the thing that departments in the US were doing really well was joint working,’ reported Andy. Very few agencies outside of California had their own aircraft, but partnerships with National Guard and emergency medical air assets resulted in the deployment of skilled swiftwater and flood rescuers paired with highly experienced air crews.
Several fire and emergency departments are also doing very valuable work building pre- and post-incident community cohesion, to a point where anyone interested in helping out after a disaster can be involved in some way, having already received relevant safety input at a local fire station.
Andy concluded, 'The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship has afforded me an amazing opportunity to learn and experience such a vast amount, and sharing that knowledge to the benefit of all is the next phase of my Fellowship. I urge anyone WITH a passion for what they do and learning new things to consider an application.’
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