Firefighter returns from ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ training trip to USA

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 October 2017

Sam Cooper in Chicago

Sam Cooper in Chicago

Supplied

A Winscombe firefighter has been training with crews in the United States after receiving a prestigious bursary.

Sam Cooper, who works as an on-call firefighter at the station in Sandford Road, worked with fire departments in both Chicago and New York after successfully applying for the Fleur Lombard bursary.

The fund, set up in honour of the first female firefighter to die while on duty in peacetime Britain, gives junior members of Avon Fire and Rescue Service staff the chance to spend time with other fire services around the world.

Sam applied for the financial support to learn more about vertical ventilation and high rise tactics with both Chicago Fire Department and New York City Fire Department.

He said: “From day one on station I was involved in incidents and from here they came thick and fast.

“To put it into context, 7,000 runs a year is considered slow here.

“The first incident I attended was a large warehouse fire and on the very same day I attended a fully involved house fire.

“This was the first time I got to witness the vertical ventilation tactics which I’d come here to learn about in action.

“What struck me when attending the incidents was the large number of resources they have available very quickly.

“It also reinforced some of the techniques we use at Avon Fire and Rescue Service which were also widely practiced by the Chicago crews.

“This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an amazing way to pay tribute to the legacy of Fleur Lombard.

“I’ve come away with lots of knowledge which I’m looking forward to sharing with my colleagues.”

During his time in America, Sam also spent a day with the fire investigation team, learned about fire behaviour at the Underwriter’s Laboratory and attended a shift with ambulance crews which are incorporated into the Chicago Fire Department.

He also visited Ground Zero while in New York to lay a memorial wreath honouring those who died during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre 16 years ago.

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