Firefighters from Beaconsfield are pictured above rescuing the "casualty" during their road safety event at the M40 service area. Their hydraulic cutters are on the left.
20 August 2009
Firefighters from Beaconsfield Fire Station set off on an all-too-familiar trip to the M40 this morning - but thankfully it was a road safety engagement rather than an emergency call.
White Watch held a special event to pass on potentially life-saving tips to drivers and passengers taking a break at the Extra service area at junction 2.
Watch Manager Danny Whitelock said: "Although people always associate firefighters with fires, much of our work is at the scene of road traffic collisions, which account for far more deaths and serious injuries.
"Reducing the toll on our roads is a key strand in Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's safety plan, and we want to do whatever we can to bring the numbers down and make sure people have a safe journey."
Latest figures from the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership show that there were 41 deaths, 339 serious injuries and 3,110 minor injuries as a result of road traffic collisions in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes in 2007-08.
Firefighters from Beaconsfield, and their colleagues from other stations including Gerrards Cross, High Wycombe and Stokenchurch, have been called to more than 200 crashes and 100 vehicle fires between junctions 1 and 5 of the M40 over the past three years, including 48 crashes and 20 fires so far this year.
Danny added: “The danger starts when people are tired or drive too fast for the conditions. We are asking them to slow down, take a break and get there alive!"
The event included two demonstrations of extrications, in which firefighters used hydraulic cutting gear to show how they release someone who is trapped in a car after a crash.
Danny and his White Watch colleagues Craig Eden, Andrew Holtzhausen, Andy Banks and Neil Curry also talked to motorists and their passengers and handed out a variety of road safety leaflets.
Buckinghamshire County Council road safety officer Malcolm Stowe was on hand to provide child safety seat checks to make sure children were properly secured.
Keith Wheeler, Claire Young and Kate Watson from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, Nic Martin from South Bucks District Council's community safety team and PC Claire Woodcock and Police Community Support Officers Sam Khan and Matt Bingham from Thames Valley Police also attended to provide road safety, fire safety and crime prevention information to visitors.
Also there to add their support were Councillor David Rowlands, Chairman of Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority, Safety Panel member Councillor Mohammad Bhatti and Station Manager Keith Williams from Beaconsfield Fire Station.