Firefighters gave a pier-less performance with a full scale training operation at one of Blackpool’s landmarks.
The crews from Lancashire Fire and Rescue staged the operation at Central Pier to make sure they were up to the task of dealing with an extreme challenge.
A total of nine fire engines and a command unit from as far away as Fulwood, Preston and Lancaster as well as local crews, descended on the pier after mustering at Richardson Street to simulate a call out to a major incident.
South Shore watch manager Steve Boyne said the idea was to test procedures and equipment in a big operation in a difficult to reach location.
He said: “Central Pier is very important to Blackpool and we have a vested interest in looking after that property.
“We wanted the men to take part in breathing apparatus exercise so we arranged to have them practice dealing with a fire in the family bar right at the end of the pier.
“We were looking at around 10 firefighters taking part wearing breathing apparatus as they would do when entering a smoke-filled building.
“It allows us to test procedures and policies and to test the staff and make sure everyone and everything is operating in the right way.
“It lets us make sure the officers are making the right choices at the right times.”
He said the firefighters were able to test the fire engine’s on board computers which can give any crew in Lancashire vital information about buildings such as the pier, including floor plans, to allow them to tackle incidents efficiently.
“It was quite a big event and we are very grateful to the Central Pier for helping,” watch manager Boyne added.
He said no other emergency services took part in the drill.
Station Manager Sean Hennessy from Forest Gate said it was a well planned operation which went well.
He said: “We practiced breathing apparatus drill and a breathing apparatus emergency where we simulated one fireman being injured, with a broken leg, and others had to go in to rescue him. We blanked out their face masks to practice search procedures in no visibility where they have to inch forward and use their feet to search in front of them.
“The pier is a heritage site and we want to give it our best shot if something should ever happen.
“It is a difficult one to fire fight being a pier and presents certain unique difficulties.
“For example we have to take our own water and run hoses for up to 300m and there is no other access like there is normally on a land based building.
“We can’t use the sea water as it is too far away for our pumps.”