FENLAND: Water rescue unit being considered for Wisbech fire station, to tackle riverside accidents
Story by: ELAINE KING A NEW water rescue unit is being considered for Wisbech fire station to provide the first specially trained team in Fenland to tackle riverside accidents. This life saving move would result in specialist equipment being installed at
Story by: ELAINE KING
A NEW water rescue unit is being considered for Wisbech fire station to provide the first specially trained team in Fenland to tackle riverside accidents.
This life saving move would result in specialist equipment being installed at the fire station, and staff receiving river rescue training.
Currently trained staff from Dogsthorpe, Cambridge or Huntingdon get called out to attend waterway accidents in Fenland.
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Graham Stagg, Chief Fire Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We are looking very carefully at the possibility of introducing water rescue at other stations, including Wisbech fire station.
He said water rescue techniques were complex and if done incorrectly, they have the potential to be hazardous both for the firefighters and to those they wish to rescue.
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"All staff using the equipment have taken part in intensive training to ensure they are skilled to the highest possible level."
He promised to continue to do "everything that is reasonable to provide a comprehensive service to the public whenever they may find themselves in difficulty".
Steve Barclay, prospective parliamentary Conservative candidate for North East Cambridgeshire, said he heard of the review during a visit to Wisbech fire station last week.
"I would urge senior managers to implement the findings of the review as a matter of urgency," he said.
"Fire and rescue officers in Fenland must receive the appropriate training for local conditions."
Road safety campaigner Graham Chappell, who wants to see barriers erected alongside Fenland waterways, was unimpressed with news of the proposed unit for Wisbech.
"What is the sense in that, how long will it take for them to get anywhere useful?" he said. "The preferred location for rescues for the Forty Foot and Sixteen Foot is almost certainly Chatteris, or even March."
He suggested that the air ambulance could be equipped for river rescue, so reducing response times.
"Physical protection from river entry is the most effective measure to reduce the need for river rescue," he added.