Laois firemen sweep the board at Rescue Organisation Ireland awards

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan


Laois Fire & Rescue team winners at Rescue Organisation Ireland awards

The Laois Team at their debrief following Extrication challenge. Photo: Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Laois County Fire and Rescue Service has been declared Overall Winners twice, in a clean sweep at a competition to test the rescue skills of firemen from across Ireland and Europe.

The Laois team won no less than seven accolades at the Rescue Organisation Ireland awards ceremony, held in Tipperary on Saturday April 21.

The Laois firemen were crowned Overall Winners in the two categories of RTC Extrication and Trauma. 

The awards ceremony in The Thatch, Ballycommon, Tipperary following a day of extrication and trauma demonstrations at Nenagh Fire Station.

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It is Laois’ eighth year to take part in the competition, and their first year to win the top awards.

The team were led by Incident Commander James Browne, S/O in Portlaoise.

He credited retired Station Officers Gay Lawlor from Durrow Fire Station and George Broomfield from Portlaoise, for putting together the first team.

“Our Senior Officers Anthony Tynan and Shae Brennan and of course our own Chief Fire Officer Declan Power have also given great support. Our efforts and training are voluntary, but it’s great that senior officers allow us to use the equipment and facilities to train. It's great to get the support from our fellow firefighters, and the ones who are covering for us too while we are down here for this competition," he said.

"We’re not used to winning at the ROI and we’ve always been knocking on the door and to give it a clean sweep tonight is absolutely fantastic and we’re all delighted it happened," SO Browne said. 

Laois Assistant Chief Fire Officer is Anthony Tynan.

“It’s a great achievement for Laois. A trophy is lovely but really it’s about on the side of the road at 3 o’clock in the morning, faced with a difficult scenario, a difficult extrication. The skills and knowledge from training for years comes to light, and someone has an idea or sees a different technique which will help to get somebody out of a difficult spot. That’s where this really matters and its not just about the trophies, its also about the real incidents," he said.

He praised the dedication of the volunteer team.

“Since that first attendance in 2010, we’ve been getting lads in together, all the year through, lads come in on their own time and expense. It’s a fantastic effort, a fantastic commitment and they get great support from their families, their stations and colleagues, and that’s all paid off for them here this year," ACFO Tynan said.

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The Laois Fire & Rescue team competed in two RTC Extrication challenges including a 10-minute RTC ‘Rapid’ challenge, a 30-minute ‘Complex Scenario’ in Pit 2. The team also competed in two ‘Trauma’ challenges in both the standard and complex scenarios.

Retired Station Officer Gay Lawlor was there to lend his support to his former colleagues. 

“It’s a great achievement, I’m real proud of these lads, they go above and beyond the call of duty. Much of their work in this challenge is voluntary and it just goes to show their hearts are in it. This is part of the good side of what the fire service does, everyone knows the fire service get called out to horrible scenes and even though you might not see a really bad one for a few weeks, or months or even a year, it’s what they are trained for and here tonight is a great pay back to them for all they train for. This is the good side of it and it’s great to have a social side of things," he said. 

The Laois team were awarded in the following:
- Best Overall Team in Extrication
- Best Overall Team in Trauma
- Best IC (Incident Commander)
- Best Tech Team
- Best Medic
- Best Team in the Complex Scenario
- Best Team in the Rapid Scenario

Below: The team with their host of trophies. Courtesy