High Sheriff in water rescue training with fire crews

High Sheriff Anna Turner, who was cut out of a car by firefighters earlier this year, will plunge into the River Dee in Wales to be rescued by Shropshire firefighters during training on Friday.

Shropshire's High Sheriff Anna Turner will see at first hand how firefighters carry out water rescues - when she herself is rescued from the River Dee near Llangollen on Friday (November 6th).

The dignitary volunteered to swap her formal dress for a drysuit for the training event on water rescue techniques for new recruit firefighters from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. Earlier this year she was cut free from the driver's seat of a wrecked car in another firefighter training session held in Telford.

"I know they will be top class in getting me out of the water quickly. I think it will be very interesting. It is nice to know that we have such professional, well trained people to rescue us," said Mrs Turner, a north Shropshire magistrate.

Mrs Turner, who has a blog on her website about her activities as Shropshire's High Sheriff, said she wanted to draw attention to the county’s well trained and professional emergency services.

Fire crews from Shropshire along with instructors from the Training and Development Centre in Telford will be at the white water rafting and canoe centre at Mile End Mill, just outside Llangollen, for the training session.

Firefighters learn techniques including how to use throw lines from a river bank as well as defensive swimming techniques in case they fall into the water during an incident.

"We are called to many water incidents across Shropshire during River Severn floods in Shrewsbury, Telford, Ironbridge, Much Wenlock and Bridgnorth. We also have lakes in Ellesmere in the north of the county, a brook that regularly floods at Melverley, near Oswestry, as well as other rivers and lakes throughout the county" said Deputy Training Manager Neil Griffiths.

This particular water training session is for the latest batch of five wholetime recruits who come from Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire and supports a four year programme run by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to train all crews. A total of 500 firefighters – both wholetime and retained – are being put through the courses run by the brigade’s training school in Telford which also has Royal Yacht Association training centre status to allow the brigade to train crews to operate the Rescue Boats which are located at Shrewsbury Fire Station.

Other practical sessions are also held in rivers and lakes in Wales at Llangollen, Bala, and the Menai Straits before trainees return to Shropshire for the more "in depth" training in the fast flowing River Severn in Shrewsbury, Telford and Bridgnorth.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is called on in national emergencies with their firefighter incident response team and their boat which was sent to assist at floods on the east coast and in Devon last year.

3rd November, 2009