On 6th April 2010 a fire at Shirley Towers, a block of flats in Southampton, sadly led to the loss of two fire fighters – Jim Shears and Alan Bannon.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) immediately set up a dedicated Accident Investigation Team (AIT). Over the next 2 years they undertook a detailed investigation into what happened that night by creating a minute-to-minute timeline. From this they were able to examine all aspects of the incident and learn the lessons from what happened and its impact on everything from equipment used, fire fighting methods and command and communication as well as operational procedures and basic training.
In the words of John Bonney, Chief Fire Officer, HFRS ‘no stone was left un-turned’ during the investigation. Alongside the work of the AIT, another team, the Operations Improvement Steering Group (OISG) was established to ensure that the lessons learnt would be implemented. This included changes to Incident Command procedures, re-design of equipment, training and operational instructions of what to do and not do in similar situations. The work of the OISG is due to continue until March 2015 to ensure that the changes are embedded fully throughout the organisation.
In late 2012 we were commissioned by HFRS to create a video training package to accompany the final report. One training video was to be aimed at Operational Management and the other at Firefighters and Incident Commanders. The report and two training videos were issued to all UK Fire and Rescue Services as part of HFRS’s commitment to share learning widely.
The project involved us working closely with the dedicated Accident and Investigations Team and reviewing the Interim Report and all available CCTV, images and other materials. From this we were able to decide how best to structure and design the two videos. We worked closely with HFRS staff to design and develop the interactive lessons and create resource materials that a trainer could use in the classroom where required for training Fire Fighters and Incident Commanders. We used a mix of re-construction, computer graphics, still and CCTV images as well as interviews across the two training videos.
The training DVDs were issued to all UK Fire and Rescue Services and other organisations with a responsibility for fire safety and response.
To see extracts from the training videos and learn more about what we did please click on the video below: