Cleckheaton firefighters welcome counterparts from Australia to station

Station officers from Tazmania visit Cleckheaton

Crews from Cleckheaton Fire Station, Pat McBride and Kirklees DC Chris Kirby.

Cleckheaton Fire Station has welcomed a volunteer rescue worker for a visit all the way from Australia.

Pat McBride, 54, who volunteers for the Tazmanian State Emergency Service, dropped by at the Cleckheaton station which is a base for West Yorkshire’s Technical Rescue Team and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR).

Pat is over in the UK to visit his wife’s relatives who live in Gomersal but was keen to see how different challenges faced by blue light services in West Yorkshire compared to Australia.

His role consists of an on call 24/7 rota where he is based just outside of Launceston in the north of Tasmania and attends road crashes and searches for missing people.

Pat said: “What’s very different to the situation here in West Yorkshire is that my area is 700 square kilometres. An average call-out we do an 80km round trip. It can take 20 minutes to get to an incident but it can’t be helped.

“With our crashes we have a lot of embankments so we have to do vertical rescue. We always look for hazards at the scene and snakes can be in long grass.

“But we just scare them away if you see them. In Tasmania there’s only three snakes and all three are venomous.”

District Commander Chris Kirby accepted a framed photo and plaque from Pat to mark the visit.

Mr Kirkby said: “It is always interesting to discover the challenges faced by different emergency services across the world and to see how their techniques differ from ours. We are pleased Pat enjoyed his visit and hopefully we have been able to share some information about how we work in West Yorkshire.”

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