Firefighters celebrate 20 years of line rescue

Firefighters from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are celebrating 20 years of carrying out line rescues this week.

On Wednesday 16 June crews from Red Watch at Temple Fire Station will be demonstrating their line rescue skills at the Avon Gorge, Bristol.

Line rescue, which involves specially trained firefighters using lines and harnesses, was first introduced at AF&RS in 1990 as part of Avon Fire Authority’s commitment to improving firefighter safety when performing a wider rescue role.

Temple Fire Station has fully trained rope rescue operatives who respond to a wide range of incidents, 24 hours a day 365 days a year, across the former Avon area, often at the Avon Gorge, Bristol, local quarries and on the cliffs at Sand Bay, Weston-super-Mare.

Temple Fire Station Manager Tony Jackson said: “When you think of the fire and rescue service you don’t immediately think about firefighters descending down a cliff to rescue someone. In recent years our wider rescue role has become more varied and our firefighters undergo intensive training to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to deal with any emergency. In the last 20 years the team has saved many lives.

Since the introduction of line rescue the teams have been involved in many incidents including rescuing climbers, assisting walkers who have slipped on cliffs, builders stuck in lift shafts and a worker who was trapped in a silo at a quarry.

On Wednesday 16 June firefighters will be carrying out a training exercise at the Avon Gorge where they will be showcasing some of the specialist equipment they use at these types of incidents.