Helicopters--the end of the wilderness years? Ten years ago, brigades throughout the UK were eagerly awaiting the results of trials using helicopters as first responders to on-shore emergency incidents. The initial feedback, as reported in FIRE, October 1994, was very favourable.(Helicopters)

Despite the progress made by the other emergency services in the use of rotary wing aircraft, there has been little headway made ill the be spoke use for emergency purposes by fire and rescue services. Was the concept of helicopter support ahead of its time or a victim of "old dimensional", cost beneficial thinking? Now, in the 21st Century, will the use of direct air support for Fire and Rescue Service operations be reconsidered in light of environmental and other threats to the community?

Many UK fire and rescue services already make use of helicopter's for dealing with incidents involving offshore risks. Air support is generally co-ordinated through the Coastguard Service and provided by Ministry of Defence Search and Rescue Squadrons. while there has been controversy regarding the use of firefighters at offshore incidents, there is little doubt of the effectiveness of the service where it exists. But apart from some limited experiments in the early 1970s, there was no large scale experimentation of the use of helicopters for land based operations by fire services until 1994. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.