Crossing the Rubicon: Fire 2005: our reporter examines the impact of Disaster City with reference to topical debate on natural and man made disasters and reviews FIRE 2005 which took place at G-Mex Manchester on November 2-3.(Fire 2005 Review)

LIKE A SPECTRE AT THE TABLE, THE theme of natural and man made disasters hovered and permeated throughout the successful FIRE 2005 Conference at Manchester G-Mex in November.

The Asian Tsunami, the earthquake in Pakistan, Hurricane Katrina and closer to home, the July 7 bombings, all cast a long shadow over the proceedings and focussed minds on the fact that despite the raging controversies and conflict within the Service, there is still a job to be done and eyes need to remain firmly focussed on the ball

A multi-site rescue scenario, caused more likely by explosives than by accident formed the centrepiece of the exhibit hall. Disaster City, a series of collapsed and destroyed buildings provided fire and rescue crews from Avon and Greater Manchester a challenging forum to demonstrate the very latest in urban search and rescue (USAR) techniques and technology. The latest protective equipment, search tools and communications systems were all brought to bear as casualties were recovered and rescued from beneath tonnes of rubble and construction materials. Not to be beaten by silicon chips, the USAR dog still managed to impress the audience with his capabilities and enthusiasm for all things human!

Exhibitors were as numerous as in previous conferences and the rate of technological advance is as fast as ever despite Fire and Rescue Service procurement being delayed because of the hold-ups in the FireBuy project.

The evolution in the way fire cover is being provided has led to a renewed and wider interest in smaller fire engines and several were on display indicating the shape of things to come. Compressed air foam systems (CAFS), the firefighting media at the forefront of everyone's mind at the moment, was much in evidence as were the latest developments in personal protective equipment. …

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