A team of West Midlands Fire Service firefighters have been crowned national champs in the use of breathing apparatus. Top honors went to Hay Mills Blue Watch at the 2018 National BA Challenge at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire. Colleagues from Highgate Blue Watch also achieved fourth place overall, in a total field of 28. The event attracted teams of five firefighters from across the UK. Each was faced with the scenario of a property fire in which people were believed trapped. They had 30 minutes to tackle the fire and rescue any casualties. Phil Loach, West Midlands Fire Service Chief Fire Officer, said: “I‘d like to congratulate all involved on such a fantastic achievement. Through regular training and simulations, our crews ensure they are fully prepared to respond to any scenario to keep their communities safe. These results highlight their ongoing commitment to operational excellence.” fire and rescue services Highgate Community Fire Station came second in the BA Team category, represented by Ian Wroe and Mark Cope Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “Many congratulations to our Hay Mills firefighter team who scooped this award. These are the skills that keep our West Midlands communities safe around the clock, every day of the year.” The event, sponsored by Draeger UK and The Fire Fighters Charity, promotes best practice and firefighter safety in the disciplines of incident command, procedures at the scene of a fire, entry control and the wearing of BA. Teams were scrutinized by specialist national assessors from the UK fire and rescue services, with Hay Mills Blue Watch achieving: Best BA team: Terry Falaschi and Steve Gibson Best Entry Control Officer: Sue Clarke Best Fire Ground Officer: Jason Plant Officer in charge, 3rd place: James Davis Firefighters from Highgate Community Fire Station in Birmingham also came second in the BA Team category, represented by Ian Wroe and Mark Cope.