Firefighters have a head for heights at Park Gardens
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THIS is the daring moment firefighters suspended themselves from a rope high above the site of a new multi-million pound retirement living scheme in Banbury.
But fear not! Although this looks like a dramatic rescue situation – it was actually all part of a meticulously planned training exercise carried out by firefighters from Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue at Bromford’s £12m Park Gardens site on Bath Road.
The specialist team of five, based in Kidlington but covering the whole county, scaled to the top of the 115ft crane recently before re-enacting a rope rescue drill giving the crew experience of working at heights within an ‘emergency’ scenario. The crew were on site for around two hours and also underwent a safety briefing from site managers before conducting their training as part of an ongoing programme.
Owen Pates, rope rescue instructor at Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue, said: “This exercise gave my team added familiarity and exposure of working at such heights as well as the basic operation of cranes. We have various techniques for rescuing people from cranes so this session gave us the opportunity to go through them in detail.
“The use of the crane on Bromford’s site was offered to us and we gratefully accepted. It was perfect for our needs and it’s always good to work with sites within our area as it gives local crews the opportunity to become familiar with them and know the different site dynamics and hazards.”
Bromford’s site manager Peter Marr said: “They’ve certainly got more nerve than I have as you wouldn’t have got me on top of that crane! But it just demonstrated the excellence of our fire service and how they train for every eventuality.
“As we shape this next chapter in Bath Road’s history, we’re looking to involve the local community as well as the friends and family of our new customers as much as possible and it’s great that we were able to open the site up to the fire service on this occasion.”
Work to transform the site, previously belonging to Banbury and Bicester College, started in November and will see 78 retirement living homes built exclusively for over 55s. Once completed it will feature one and two bedroom apartments in a range of affordable tenure options as well as a café bistro and lounge, activity studio, gym, hair and beauty salon and landscaped gardens.
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