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New for 2022 – Firefighter Fitness Challenge

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New for 2022 - Firefighter Fitness Challenge

We will be making the UKRO Festival of Rescue 2022 a really inclusive and interactive experience for anyone who works in the fire and rescue services, and as part of that we are introducing an extra challenge this year which is open to everyone – the Firefighter Fitness Challenge!

Based on the national fireground fitness test, the challenge will be open to any member of fire service staff, not just operational firefighters. We are keen to see applicants from all parts of the fire and rescue service – from station-based staff to fire control, IT to administration.

The competition will also be divided into five age categories:

  • 18-30
  • 31-40
  • 41-50
  • 51-55
  • 55+

This video provides a full run through of the test, to let you know what you're letting yourself in for!

Firefighter carrying weight as part of firefighter fitness assessment

Entering the challenge

The quickest two participants in each category to complete the test while meeting all the test standards (e.g. only running/jogging when permitted, completing each 25m fully) can be put forward for the national finals. They will then compete at the UKRO Festival of Rescue event on 30 September and 1 October against the top performers from services around the country. We’re asking all participating services to provide details of their entrants for the national finals by 12 August 2022 using the button below.

How you choose your Firefighter Fitness Challenge competitors in each category is up to you. In the West Midlands, we’re encouraging all our staff to have a go, and offering full support and non-competitive “have a go” sessions to staff who may have no experience at the fireground fitness test. Several challenge qualifying rounds will then take place throughout our Summer of Rescue to find our qualifiers!

If you want any further details about running the fitness challenge in your service or how to nominate your participants, please contact Sacha Quinney – [email protected]



Posted on May 31, 2022

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Sutton Coldfield kicks off Summer of Rescue


Sutton Coldfield kicks off Summer of Rescue

On 14 May 2022 our first Summer of Rescue event took place at Sutton Coldfield Fire Station as part of their public open day to celebrate the opening of our third Tech Rescue Station. Some 2000 members of the public visited throughout the day to see live demonstrations of both vehicle extrication and rope rescue from the station's training tower.

It came the day after the new facility was officially opened at a VIP by the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE.

The event also gave members of the public an opportunity to learn more about other aspects of Technical Rescue, including;

  • exploring the specialist equipment and vehicles use by our TRU Technicians – including boats, water rescue kit and heavy lifting equipment
  • learning how the team searches collapsed buildings and make dangerous structures safe
  • finding out how we rescue large animals.

There was also entertainment from the Fire Service band, fairground rides, face painting and refreshments for families to enjoy.

Read more about our new Tech Rescue Station at Sutton Coldfield here.


Posted on May 15, 2022

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Accommodation for Festival of Rescue


Where to Stay

If you are planning to compete at the festival, supporting loved ones, or simply coming to enjoy the atmosphere we have created a list of hotels and apartments all within 1.5 miles of the Smithfield site to give you the best possible experience of our city and our festival.

Hotels within 1.5 miles of Smithfield

Travelodge Bullring
Travelodge Birmingham Central Bullring, Upper Dean Street, Birmingham

Ibis Birmingham City Centre
Ibis Birmingham Centre New Street, Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham, B5 6NU

Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre
Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre, Smallbrook , Queensway, B5 4EW

Hotel Ibis - Great Colmore Street
Hotel Ibis Budget Birmingham Centre, 1 Great Colmore Street, B15 2AP

Comfort Inn
Hotel Comfort Inn , Station Street, Birmingham, EN, B5 4DY, GB

Easy Hotel
Easyhotel Birmingham, 81-91 John Bright Street, B1 1BL

Premier Inn Birmingham City Centre
Premier Inn Birmingham City Centre, Waterloo Street, B2 5PG  

Hampton - Hilton
Hampton by Hilton Birmingham, 200 Broad Street, B15 1SU

Malmaison, 1 Wharfside St, Birmingham B1 1RD

Crowne Plaza
Crowne Plaza, Birmingham City Centre, Central Square, Holiday Street, Birmingham, B1 1HH

Holiday Inn Snow Hill
Holiday Inn Express Birmingham - Snow Hill,  1 Snow Hill Plaza St Chads, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 6HY

Travelodge Broad Street
Travelodge Birmingham Central, 230 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1AY

Jurys Inn
Jurys Inn, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HQ

Radisson Blu  Birmingham
Radisson Blu Hotel, 12 Holloway Circus, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1BT

Marriott Hotel - Mailbox
AC Hotel Birmingham, 160 Wharfside, The Mailbox, Birmingham, B1 1RL

Novatel, 70 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HT

Clayton Hotel
Clayton Hotel, Albert Street, Birmingham, B5 5JE

Aston Uni
Conference Aston, Aston University, Aston Street, Birmingham, B7 4ET

Marriott - East side
Aloft Birmingham, Eastside, 4 Woodcock Street, Birmingham, B74BL

Serviced apartments

Staybridge Suites
Staybridge Suites, Martineau Place, Corporation Street, Birmingham, B2 4UW  
No 8 Waterloo Street Apartments, Birmingham, B2 5PG

Staycity Apts
Staycity Aparthotels, Newhall Square, 88 Charlotte Street, Birmingham, B3 PW 
Staying Cool at the Rotunda Birmingham Bullring

Premier Suites
Premier Suites, Dean House, 38 Upper Dean Street, Birmingham, B5 4SG


Posted on May 9, 2022

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ACdr Sam Burton on the Festival of Rescue

Festival of rescue

AC Burton on the West Midlands Festival of Rescue

"To have it, here in the West Midlands, is enormously exciting, and to be leading the planning, coordination and delivery of the event is a real honour for me."

The Festival of Rescue coming to the West Midlands is a huge source of pride for me and our Service.  To have it, here in the West Midlands, is enormously exciting, and to be leading the planning, coordination and delivery of the event is a real honour for me.

I joined West Midlands Fire Service in 2001, as a firefighter at Highgate Station.  Moving through various roles across, Prevention, Protection and Response has been a real privilege to learn and understand all the areas our Service has to offer.

As the Area Commander for Operations North, Commonwealth Games and Emergency Planning this is an area I know well – it's ingrained in me, I’ve lived and breathed it throughout my career, and to be able to showcase the best of the work we do as UK Fire and Rescue Services to my communities, my area and my home is the of opportunity of a career.

Most of our communities see us either in their time of need, during our visits to schools, homes, businesses where every opportunity is taken to make the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.

Often people see our staff, equipment and resources and the work we do from a distance, provoking a curiosity to what we do.  The public have trust and confidence in us to get on with the job at hand and for that, we are enormously grateful, the opportunity to show them, up close and in realistic scenarios, what we do among our national peers, is one not to be missed.

We’re working extraordinarily hard behind the scenes to prepare for a busy summer – the lead up to the Festival of Rescue is preceded by the Summer of Rescue, where West Midlands Fire Service will be in our communities, giving a taste of the major event to come leading up to and over the summer holidays.

The West Midlands is prepared and ready for big events with our range of sports grounds, music arenas and cultural institutions that offer so much to our communities – this is an area that wants and desires something new, something different, and is desperate to fully enjoy a summer following the hardships of the last two years.  The Commonwealth Games is an excellent circuit breaker for this, to be able to follow this international event with something unique and intriguing is an opportunity we are fully taking, we can only do with the support of our fellow FRSs, our staff and sponsors.

We have a dedicated team working on the Festival of Rescue, securing brilliant event spaces which will give the public a great view of our efforts; creating spaces to engage our communities, using the event to educate people on how to keep themselves and their families safe; and to promote you and your products to a rapt audience of national Fire and Rescue Services, all looking for that next innovation that makes our jobs easier.

It’s an opportunity my team and I have grabbed with both hands – I hope you’ll see the opportunity to be able to do the same.


Posted on May 7, 2022

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A Summer of Rescue

Summer of rescue

A Summer of Rescue

As we build towards the UKRO Festival of Rescue at the end of September 2022, West Midlands Fire Service will be hosting various warm up events across the whole of the West Midlands as part of our "Summer of Rescue". These will form part of public open days and give everyone an opportunity to see our crews in action!


The Summer of Rescue will give members of the public in each part of the West Midlands an opportunity to see their local crews practicing and training for each of the five challenges which form part of the UKRO Festival of Rescue. There will also be opportunities to learn more about the work of the Fire and Rescue Service as a whole, including our important prevention and protection work, and what it takes to work for WMFS.

We're kicking off our Summer of Rescue at the opening of our new Technical Rescue Station at Sutton Coldfield on 14 May 2022.

Mat Ward, Station Commander at Sutton Coldfield fire station, said: “It’s an exciting year ahead for West Midlands Fire Service. We’re really proud to be launching our third Technical Rescue Unit. It’s a long time since we’ve been able to stage our popular open days, so we’re proud to be launching our ‘Summer of Rescue’ at Sutton.

"We’re expecting big crowds. We’re looking forward to throwing open the doors so members of our local community can come and meet some of the firefighters now based there. It will also be a great opportunity to see the equipment, vehicles and skills for which the station is now base.”

Find out more about the Sutton Coldfield open day on the WMFS website.

Alongside these public events, we're also holding "Wildcard" qualification events for two additional West Midlands crews to join the Trauma and Extrication challenges at the main Festival of Rescue in September. These will be an excellent opportunity for improving your knowledge, skills and confidence when dealing with extrication and trauma. We are encouraging entry from all staff within WMFS, regardless of experience. We'll share the results and pictures from these qualification events soon!



Posted on May 6, 2022

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An engaging and interactive UKRO festival

Festival of rescue

An engaging and interactive UKRO event

The West Midlands Fire Service is gearing up for an exciting and interactive Festival of Rescue in the heart of Birmingham.

We’re delighted to be hosting the 2022 UKRO Festival of Rescue, pitting the very best of the UK Fire and Rescue Service against one another in the fields of vehicle extrication, water rescue, trauma care, rope rescue and urban search and rescue. We’re even adding a sixth event this year – UKs fittest firefighter – to test competitors’ strength and endurance.

The fact that the festival takes place in a public setting is a unique opportunity for the UKFRS to show the public an increasing important side of what we do as an emergency service. We’re planning on making it the most interactive and engaging UKRO event yet, making use of a site in central Birmingham that will have hosted major Commonwealth Games events just a few months prior.

While the Festival is of course an opportunity for fun and friendly competition, it is also an important way of driving up standards in vital rescue disciplines, learning lessons from one another and ensuring our services are highly prepared. We aren’t only involving our teams in the competition in September but are planning a whole “Summer of Rescue” with public events across our stations and the region to both develop our team’s skills and build momentum and interest in the event. You can find out more about that elsewhere on this site.

We are of course also aiming to exploit the event to promote our prevention and protection messages, develop new relationships with partners and sponsors, and encourage more people to consider the fire and rescue service as a career. Rarely do we get an opportunity to showcase our service on such a scale and in such a public manner – short of a major incident.

This event will only be successfully delivered through partnership, and we’re keen to engage with anyone who is interested in supporting us. Whether it is volunteering to support the planning and execution of the event or providing financial support through sponsorship, we’d be keen to hear from you. If you think you could support us to deliver a summer to remember, please take a look around this site where you’ll find more information about how to get involved!


Posted on May 6, 2022

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