International rescue service share valuable skills

The county's fire service has been demonstrating again it truly is an international rescue service.

West Sussex firefighters with their Catalan counterparts
West Sussex firefighters with their Catalan counterparts

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has this week been hosting a Spanish rescue team as part of an EU-funded exchange of experts.

Four Catalan firefighters have been working with the county’s technical rescue unit to learn all about their specialist skills.

Their visit has included rope rescue training at the TRU’s base in Horley; swift water rescue sessions at Shoreham; power boat training at Littlehampton, Arundel and Wittering; a confined space exercise at Crawley and rescues from rubble piles to simulate working around collapsed buildings.

TRU manager St.John Stanley said: “This has been a really successful programme which has enabled both teams to learn a huge amount about their technical skills and methods of training.”

TRU firefighter Owen Marfany, who is fluent in Spanish, organised the European exchange of expertise programme which initially involved himself, and TRU colleagues, Mick Lewin, Peter Thorpe-Hincks and Adrian Kirkpatrick spending four days training in remote mountainous terrain in Spain.

This week their Catalan counterparts have been staying in Horsham and training with them at locations around West Sussex.

The TRU provides 24-hour emergency cover across the county where specialist rescue skills are required.

The team also attends incidents regionally, nationally and internationally if required.

St.John recently worked in Siberia, supporting a Russian team to gain classification for international search and rescue.

TRU members are also due to be working in Canada and India in the coming months.

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