Week of Firefighters in Prague


Next week, Prague will become a meeting place for rescuers and firefighters in an event called “ Firefighters' Week in Prague". According to the organizers, it will be a unique event - “the world will be meeting in Prague" one of them said. Alena Skodova has the details:

"Firefighters' Week in Prague" will be held on Letna plain between October 2nd and 6th and will include several events: the main event will be a staged competition in which rescuers will compete to free car-crash victims from crumpled vehicles. Lieutenant Colonel Vaclav Hladik from Prague's Firefighters' Emergency Service explained that there would be a lot to see.

"There will be 30 teams from 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Kosovo. Each crew will have a special task to fulfill during simulated car accidents, such as estimating types of injury, extricating wounded persons, and providing First Aid. They will not compete against the clock but in terms of overall performance."

Other attractions will include vintage fire engines with firemen in period costumes and a hurdle race. The whole week will culminate with a competition called Iron Fireman, which will include a race to the 23rd floor of the Motokov building and roping-down its outer face.

The event will be kicked off by an annual conference of the World Council of Rescue Organizations, and its senior officer, Iain McWilliam from Britain explained why the council had chosen Prague as the venue:

"We chose Prague because there is a personal contact that started between the two chief officers 15-16 months ago at a competition in South Africa and the question was raised, would you be prepared to consider hosting it. Our team came out to Prague and we were met with very experienced in road accident competition which takes place in Prague anyway, and great enthusiasm from the chief to host it. We have thoroughly enjoyed the last 15 months of planning, and it has been a hard work. But it's really in the enthusiasm and the experience, and it's been a new country to come to, and having a new potential partner is very exciting for us."

Mr. McWilliam said that the council highly respects Czech rescuers and firemen, whom he met many times during his nine stays in Prague, and remembered the first time he saw their performance:

"Our first experience, operationally, our team came to a national competition in England a few weeks ago and all of the teams in England, Scotland and Wales - there were 50 teams taking part in our national - were very, very impressed by the professional competence of the one crew that came out to Newcastle, particularly in one of the disciplines which we asses, which we call a rapid extrication where they have to get the casualty out of the car very quickly for medical reasons. And they were excellent. Certainly, the Czech Republic and the fire-fighters here have got a lot to teach us. And that's what the competition is all about. It is about learning, getting better so that we are all better delivering the service to the people who need us when they have a car accident."