A number of exercises were carried out during the course which involved ten fire-fighters and officers from stations across the County boarding ships to deal with simulated fire and rescue related scenarios.
Shannon Foynes Port Company operates Ireland's busiest deep-water bulk cargo handling port facilities at Foynes. The company has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities on a 500km2 area on the Shannon Estuary, stretching from Kerry Head and Loop Head (Clare) to Limerick City.
According to Senior Assistance Chief Fire Officer Carl Weaver: “This course was designed to train our fire-fighters in dealing with incidents aboard the wide range of ship types using the Shannon Estuary every day.”
Limerick County Fire and Rescue Service has run in excess of 70 courses in the past 12 months alone, including training models focusing on Compartment Fire Behaviour, Water and Cardiac First Responder, Road Traffic Collisions, Winching Operations, Working at Heights, and Hazardous Materials.
Mr. Weaver emphasised the importance of raising staff training levels throughout the Service.
“The roles and responsibilities of Service staff are many and varied. Therefore, continuous training is required to ensure the Service responds to and deals with emergency and rescue incidents with maximum efficiency.”
Most of County Limerick’s Fire Stations have a drill yard and training tower with the newest station opening in Kilmallock in late 2010. The service also maintains a Compartment Fire Behaviour Training facility in Foynes.
“The majority of training courses are held at our own stations,” explained Mr. Weaver. He added: “We are fortunate to have a group of highly trained and experienced instructors in many different disciplines drawn from our own ranks. Breathing Apparatus Refresher training is carried out at Clonmel Fire Station in south Tipperary where state of the art facilities exist. Officers attend specialist training courses held around the country.”
Limerick County Fire and Rescue Service is currently made up of 10 Senior Fire Officers, 1 Wholetime Brigade Mechanic and 72 Retained Firefighters in six stations throughout Limerick, including Kilmallock, Foynes, Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale, Rathkeale and Cappamore. The Service also provides financial support to its counterpart service in Limerick City, to provide fire cover to the city environs in County Limerick.
The Service fleet consists of 27 vehicles, including 12 Class B Fire Appliances, 4 Water Tankers, 1 Emergency Tender, 1 Aerial Rescue Vehicle and 3 Four-Wheel Drives. The Service also possesses 3 Spare Class B appliances and 3 additional support vehicles. The Service this year retained the quality management standard ISO 9001:2008, which is subject to an external audit each year.