Local Fire crews training with their Otley colleagues

17 September 2011

Harrogate and Knaresborough Fire crews have recently been training with their colleagues from West Yorkshire Fire service from Otley.

The training was all about sharing techniques and developing team working away from the pressures of a live incident. Three cars were used simulating typical crash scenarios of a vehicle on its roof, side and all 4 wheels.

The crews worked at a training pace on the cars which is much slower than the speed they would work at in a real incident with frequent pauses to talk and analyse the effectiveness of a technique.

Fire crews work to an initial plan but always retain a ‘Plan B’ which is used if the situation changes with such things as the occupants heath deteriorating or  fire.

The crews approached the vehicles as if it was a real incident and initially laid equipment out on a tarpaulin.


Equipment laid ready for use



Aluminium ladders used to brace a vehicle on its side

Initially the crews worked on stabilisation of the vehicles using using chocks, ropes and aluminium ladders. Ensuring that the vehicle can not move protects the rescue crews as well as the causalities.


The door of the vehicle on its side is removed


Crews used a ram to push the front of the car forward – this is sometimes needed following a front impact when the drivers legs are trapped. Also shown in the image is a steering wheel cover used to limit risk if the air bag were to deploy. An air bag deploying in a vehicle can cause significant injury to the rescue services.



A reciprocating cutter used to cut out a front windscreen. During any cutting the occupants are protected with boards that help guard them from any debris. Once cut, sharp ends are covered with protection to avoid the potential for cuts to occupants or fire crews.


Video taken during the exercise, showing the use of a reciprocating cutter and the hydraulic cutter.

The event was overseen by Simon Render who is the Harrogate Fire Station Manager.

Simon Render, Harrogate Station Manager said:

This was the third of four planned programmed exercises with Otley for 2011 and already we are seeing the benefits of training together so that both services gain a greater understanding of each other’s Operational Procedures.

The evening was a great success with best practices being shared and this will enable each Fire and Rescue Service to provide an improved service to our communities.


The skill and expertise displayed by the crews can only inspire great confidence. If you are ever in the unfortunate position to be involved in a road traffic collision you can be confident in the knowledge that we are lucky enough to have some of the best fire crews in the UK.


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