Firefighters practice rope rescue skills
Officers from the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service are undertaking courses for two weeks and yesterday eight personnel were trained or re-assessed as Rope Supervisors by instructors from Wales.
This assessment took place on the pylon at the Middle Cable Car Station.
While the need for firefighters to conduct rescue operations like this are rare on the Rock, with about six taking place last year, it was only last week that a teenage boy was rescued at Europa Point, after he was stuck when climbing.
“This rope course is just another exercise in our two week programme, we have two instructors from Outreach Wales and they are involved in the initial supervisor’s course for five new officer and we have the reassessment of our current supervisors,” said Matthew Payas divisional officer head of operations and training at GFRS.
“During the second week we will have the assessments of the Rope Rescue instructors, we have three of them, and it will also involve confined space rescue and care and maintenance of rope rescue and associated equipment,” he added.
Alistair Reed is a Senior Instructor with Outreach Rescue North Wales and this is his second time on the Rock training this course.
“I have got the re-assessors so the guys who are already supervisors and I am just doing a reassessment of their capability,” he said.
“I have had one course of four and another course of three, they are finding it a challenge and so they should be,” he added.
Mr Reed believes the team at GFRS are keeping up their competencies “as best they can given all the other things they have to do. Not only do they have to think of rope rescue, but firefighting, road traffic collision and all the other things they do as well. This is an infrequently skill but it has a high consequence if you get it wrong.”
Yesterday’s training saw both Initial supervisors and Current Supervisors complete the course. An initial supervisor undertakes a five day course while will lead them into the supervisor roles, a current supervisor is an officer who is having his competencies reassessed.
The role of a current supervisor is to take command the control of a situation and direct all the crews towards a successful resolution.