Behind the Scenes at Lutwyche Road

We are delighted to be working with Connexus on the development of six houses at Lutwyche Road, Church Stretton.

We were approached by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Services to discuss a potential opportunity to utilise the vacant properties on Lutwyche Road for training purposes. We were thrilled by this opportunity to engage with the local firefighters and gain an understanding of the importance of practicing for ‘real life’ situations.

Vacant properties, which are due to be demolished are the perfect venues for the Fire Service to train, having different surroundings to practice their training techniques really tests the crew due to the unfamiliar layouts.

The first drill was a two storey flat, fully smoke logged using synthetic smoke machines. One live casualty and one training dummy were hidden inside the building. Watch Manager (WM), Steven Paige, expressed that the building had a number of small cubby holes and cupboards and hid the dummy to resemble a missing child, who have a tendency to hide from danger.

The crews were alerted to the property fire and when they arrived, they saw the smoke issuing from the property. Initially, they entered the ground floor flat, wearing breathing apparatus and used a thermal imaging camera to search the property for casualties.

Once the flat has been fully searched the crews were tasked with ventilating the property. The windows had been boarded due to building being vacant prior to the commencement of our construction works, therefore natural ventilation was not possible. This gave the crews an opportunity to use a technique that is called the venturi effect using a hose reel through the front door to successfully draw the smoke out.

The second drill involved the crews gaining access to the first floor flat. The fire originated in the ground floor flat, however it had travelled through into the first floor flat where a dummy had also been hidden. Crews had to break in to gain access to this flat. WM Paige explained that it is not always practical to ‘smash’ the door down and in some instances, they have to use specialist equipment to break the lock. He explained the importance of practicing on ‘new’ doors as the security features have improved immensely over the years making access far more difficult for crews in a time critical situation.

Steven Paige, Watch Manager, of Church Stretton Fire Services said: “The properties have been a huge benefit to us all in the likes of training for real incidents. Myself and my team got a lot out from them with regards to training, learning points, good techniques etc.  This was such an ideal venue and really has been so appreciated by myself and the team. Opportunities with properties don’t come around like this very often and knowing they were going to be demolished helped with making them as realistic as possible by creating incident scenarios.”

It has been a great pleasure to see our local Firefighters in action, we are privileged to have been a part of their training evenings.