Second Annual Emergency Services Open Day at the Trafford Centre, Manchester, hailed a complete success.

This morning the Bolton MRT, in an impressive five team vehicle/three team trailers convoy journeyed down the motorway from Bolton to Manchester to take part in this years 2nd Annual Emergency Services Open Day at the very large retail complex of the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

Months in planning, organised and co-ordinated by our colleagues at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, with the principal driving force and organiser being (as with last year) Ben Levy, GMFRS Station Commander, Stretford Fire Station, the day saw every conceivable Emergency Service and Voluntary Aid Group which might be called upon to deal with emergencies in Greater Manchester present on display.

Regular readers of our website may recall that at last year’s (first) event, the day resulted in torrential down pours all afternoon, well this year the sun shone, (very) large patches of blue sky beckoned and the rain stayed away.

Literally thousands of visitors passed through the exhibition area, where Emergency Vehicles of every size, type, and function were on display, alongside their ever willing crews on hand to explain to the many interested visitors young and old alike, just what the Emergency Services in Greater Manchester get up to.

We attended with all four of our Mountain Rescue Land Rover Emergency Ambulances, our Minibus Ambulance, Catering Trailer, Control Trailer and 3.5 metre Semi Rigid Inflatable SAR Boat.

Thirteen Operational Call Out list members attended (14x if we include team member Andrew Kench, who was there next to us in his full time capacity as an RSPCA Inspector and member of the RSPCA Rope Access and Flood Response Team)

Visitors to our display included this group from Lagos Transportation, Nigeria

Three members of our Support Group also attended, Iain Clarkson, Gillian Gregory and Sarah Hindle.

Our Catering Trailer was set up to provide a continuous supply of hot and cold drinks for all the personnel present at their various displays today, ably crewed by our Support Group members attending.

The Salvation Army also attended with their Catering Unit, providing the same service at the other end of the display area.

Besides being on show to the public, and we were kept very busy all day from the 10.00am start to the 4.30pm finish with a huge number of visitors to ‘our’ part of the display area, designated the ‘Mountain rescue Zone,’ we also used the day (As did all other services present) as a rare opportunity to liaise, talk, compare kit, renew old acquaintances and make new ones, away from the usual demands of operational incidents.

Amongst the many visitors to our display, which also included a single vehicle and two members from the Rossendale and Pendle MRT, were honoured VIPs in the form of George Almond CBE OStJ DL The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester in the company of his wife, and the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of Trafford MBC.

Of course the most most interested visitors to our display remained as always the many young children, who just wanted to stroke Sasha, our Trainee Drowned Victim Search Dog, or enquire as to the good health of our Resuscitation Manikin on our Bell Stretcher, or just to sit in one of our Land Rovers with the blue lights and sirens on ! (Many an adult wanted to do this as well it must be said)

Everybody present at today’s Open Day was grateful to the fantastic support of the Trafford Centre Food Outlet, ‘Spud U like,’ who treated all those personnel at the displays to a free meal.

Obvious thanks also go to the Management of the Trafford Centre itself, who gave over a very large amount of their premier frontage car parking to today’s Emergency Services Open Day, thus guaranteeing all the services and organisations present the maximum public exposure.

By the end of the day, all present deemed the Open Day a huge success, and thanks to the kindness of the Trafford Centre in allowing us to collect at our display, and to the generosity and appreciated support of the many visitors to our display, we also raised £78.69p.

So here’s to the planned 2013 Emergency Services Open Day at the Trafford Centre for the third time, see you all next year.

The below is a listing of those understood to have been present today, including specialist vehicles from GMFRS (apologies for any omissions):

  • GMFRS Urban Search and Rescue Vehicles
  • Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum – Vintage Fire Appliances
  • RSPCA Swiftwater Rescue Team
  • Bolton Mountain Rescue Team
  • Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team
  • Greater Manchester Police Museum
  • PC-UK – Vintage Police Vehicles
  • British Red Cross Fire Emergency Support Service
  • GMFRS Fire Scene Investigation Team
  • GMFRS Fire Scene Investigation / Urban Search and Rescue Canine Unit
  • Greater Manchester Police Road Safety Trailer
  • GMFRS Water Incident Unit
  • GMFRS Foam Unit
  • GMFRS Environmental Protection Unit
  • GMFRS Enhanced Rescue Unit
  • GMFRS Operational Support Unit
  • GMFRS Incident Command Unit
  • GMFRS Small Incident Unit
  • St. John Ambulance Service
  • GMFRS Pinzgauer 6×6 All Terrain Rescue Vehicle
  • North West Air Ambulance
  • Children’s Air Ambulance
  • Greater Manchester Police Authority
  • North West Underwater Search & Marine Unit
  • North West Blood Bikes
  • ANGLOCO Fire engine and apparatus manufacturer
  • GMFRS Hydraulic Platform Vehicle
  • GMFRS High Volume Pump
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Children & Young People Department
  • GMFRS Community Fire Cadets
  • Youth United
  • Firefighter’s Charity
  • GMP Motorway Patrol Vehicle
  • GMP Police Motorcycles
  • GMP Automatic Number Plate Recognition Vehicles
  • GMP Police Interceptor Vehicles
  • GMP Covert Police Units
  • North West Regional Air Operations Group (Police) GMP Air Support Unit – Helicopter, which did a ‘fly by’
  • GMP Police Specialist Tactical Response Vehicles
  • Salvation Army Catering Unit
  • North West Ambulance Service
  • Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership
  • Royal National Lifeboat Institution
  • United Utilities
  • NHS Blood and Transplant Service
  • GMFRS Fire Bikes
  • City Airport Manchester & Heliport (Barton) Fire and Rescue Team
  • Institute of Advanced Motorists

The following email was sent to all participants this evening from Ben Levy, GMFRS Station Commander, Stretford Fire Station, the principal organiser of today, and is reproduced here for the interest and information of our readers;

“Emergency Services Open Day – Wednesday 22nd August 2012. Colleagues, Our second annual Emergency Services Open Day has today proved a resounding success. For the second year in succession this event has taken place against a backdrop of significant operational activity, but it was encouraging to see that once again, this did not adversely affect the commitment of our agencies to support the day. Even more significant was the dramatic improvement in the weather conditions from last year….. Almost summerlike at times!

Once again, exceptional support from The Trafford Centre allowed us to put on a show the size of which I do not believe is replicated in many other venues. Today we had in attendance at least 110 emergency service vehicles, stalls, displays and demonstrations, supported by approximately 185 personnel. Many of these were volunteers, some of whom travelled a long way to be with us. It is difficult to estimate, but I reckon we had easily in excess of five thousand visitors today.

An addition to last year’s format was the ‘official opening’ at 11.00hrs, which was well attended by a number of dignitaries. This took place in conjunction with a launch of GMFRS’s brand new Community Event Vehicle.

We will be passing written thanks on behalf of us all to The Trafford Centre management team for their support of the day, and also to Spud u like, who provided lunch for all attendees. I hope you will also join me in thanking the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team and Salvation Army for keeping us refreshed through the day with hot and cold drinks from their canteen units.

Finally, a personal thanks from me to all those who supported and attended the event. I spoke to many visitors, all without exception were having a great time built on the enthusiasm and professionalism of all those who made the day work.

Please will you ensure a copy of this email is passed to all your colleagues who attended.

Who’s up for 999 Day 2013? Kind regards and again, many personal thanks,

Ben Levy, Station Commander, Stretford Fire Station.”

The following email was sent to all participants this evening by Steve McGuirk, County Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and is reproduced here for the interest and information of our readers:

“Colleagues, can I add my thanks and appreciation to those of Ben?

What a tremendous event – a huge response from the public, a great opportunity to showcase our equipment and skills and a great chance to interact with our communities in a whole series of ways and across all Services.

And what a fantastic illustration of working together – all the comments I overheard were very complimentary indeed.

I thought everyone presented a fantastic public image – and I think I made it round all the kit/stalls to say thank you and well done.

I agree with Ben that the Trafford Centre’s support was crucial – and it’s great that this continues.

Could I also say an especial thanks to the folks who organised the event – I know from experience that for these type of things to be as successful as today clearly has been – there is a huge amount of planning required.

As Ben says – roll on 2013.

Thanks again. Steve McGuirk
County Fire Officer and Chief Executive.”