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Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service

“Warwickshire Fire & Rescue are now in the process of training all operational staff in the use of Long Reach Telescopic Poles as supplied by Reach and Rescue. The decision to equip all front line appliances with rescue poles was taken after a comprehensive programme of trials and subsequent development. We have now arrived at a position where this product substantially enhances the rescue capability of fire crews and reduces the need to plan and train for Firefighters entering water to attempt rescues.

The method of effecting rescues with this device has greatly improved the chances of rescue, and enhanced Firefighter safety, by ensuring that the need for entry into water has been minimised. Previously as a Service, we used throw lines or inflated lengths of hose to try and reach casualties but these methods had drawback compared to the rescue poles. Throw lines are notoriously difficult to deploy effectively due to the accuracy required of the rescuer and the delay in gathering and redeploying the rope; in addition, they rely on the casualty being able to reach and secure the rope around themselves. The use of inflated hose, although very effective when used in the stopper at the bottom of weirs, takes around five minutes to set up and, in open water, is very difficult to direct toward the casualty.

The Long Reach (17 metre) telescopic poles are effective in all conditions and situations we have experienced or devised, and the initial trial pole was used on four different occasions on live incidents to rescue four animals. This negated the need to enter the water or wait for around forty minutes for a boat crew. Our current policy is not to enter the water but we understand the considerable pressure that our crews have experienced in the past, from members of the public, to attempt rescue. On occasion, we have spent time in restraining concerned pet and livestock owners from taking action and putting themselves at risk. We now have a piece of equipment, in the rescue poles, that allows crews to take the appropriate action to ensure the safety of themselves and the public.”

Group Manager, Simon Ellershaw, Warwick District Area Risk Team, Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service