New replacement rescue boats for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service will enable firefighters to respond quicker to water incidents. Equipped with the latest technology, the new boats have a more powerful engine and inflate in under a minute compared to the three to four minutes the old boats took. This means that crews can get the boats off the rescue vehicle, into the water and reach the casualty in a significantly faster time. Group Commander Jamie Johnson, who heads the department responsible for bringing new equipment into the Service, said: “People often know that we deal with fires and road traffic accidents but don’t always appreciate that we carry out water rescues too.” upgrade older equipment Over the last 10 years we’ve attended 179 water related incidents and rescued 162 people from water. Our boat crews undertake a three day rigorous training course to ensure they are skilled in water rescue techniques for different in-water situations. This could be to rescue people who have fallen in, got into trouble whilst swimming or people whose cars have ended up in water." Crews will be out on the local waterways over the next few weeks familiarizing themselves with the new equipment "Every second counts when it comes to water rescues where someone’s life is in danger. That’s why it’s important that we regularly review our equipment and upgrade older equipment to ensure our crews have the most up to date technology to enable them to put their skills into action as quickly as possible.” water safety education Two of the new boats will be put on the rescue vehicles in Peterborough and Cambridge. The third will be used for training, which will ensure the other two boats are always available. Crews will be out on the local waterways over the next few weeks familiarizing themselves with the new equipment and carrying out training exercises to practice using them. Once all crews are trained, the new boats will replace the current ones. Station Commander Kevin Andrews added: "As well as responding to emergencies in water, the fire service proactively undertakes water safety education. For a number of years, crews have been delivering water safety presentations in schools to encourage students to take extra care when they are in and around the county’s waterways and to consider the risks."
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has entered into an agreement with the Rapid Relief Team to support firefighters when they are attending prolonged incidents by providing food and refreshments. The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) is a non-profit charitable organization. Its volunteers are members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and their mission is to provide voluntary support to the emergency services at large scale incidents. The volunteers make themselves available to support emergency services with a specific focus on providing refreshments such as food and drink or other practical support where incidents go on for a number of hours or even days. Critical equipment to get a team mobile The organization deploys two trailers locally – the first contains critical equipment to get a team mobileRRT works on a global scale and has helped the emergency services during incidents in the UK such as Whaley Bridge and Grenfell. The organization deploys two trailers locally – the first contains critical equipment to get a team mobile as swiftly as possible and it contains everything from marquees to generators and utensils. The barbecue trailer has the capacity to grill 120 burgers at one time and also provides hot drinks. The Rapid Relief Team is only available at incidents when there are six or more fire engines attending, also where the suited number of officers or crew from Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service will be present at the scene for a duration in excess of 12 hours. Important for firefighters to remain energized Station Commander, Jamie Johnson said: “Our values in Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service align with those of the Rapid Relief Team. Being selfless and of service to humanity is one of the main motivations behind being a firefighter. Remaining energized and hydrated with food and drink is really important for firefighter safety" "Under the new agreement, the Rapid Relief Team is now available to our fire crews when they are dealing with large, prolonged incidents. Remaining energized and hydrated with food and drink is really important for firefighter safety. We are incredibly grateful to the Rapid Relief Team for their service offer.” Reaching incident locations rapidly Ryan Kingston, local team leader of RRT said “It’s a pleasure being able to work with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. Sometimes firefighters can end up in situations that can stretch over hours and days. We want to be there for them so they can replenish themselves while being on the line of duty. Being present at a national and local scale allows us to mobilize and reach incident locations rapidly.” The charity also works with other organizations and services to help tackle homelessness, disability and engage with youth charities in the UK.