NSW firefighters face new training to enter terrorist “hot zones”

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Specialist teams of trained firefighters wearing ballistic gear and equipped to rush in to unfolding terrorist attacks are a key element in the fight against modern terrorism, the former chief of the world's biggest fire brigade says.

Ron Dobson, who retired as commissioner of the London Fire Brigade last year, said firefighters can no longer sit back and wait until the threat has subsided to enter a bomb site or mass shooting, according to an article in the Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald.

His comments come as Fairfax Media reveals that terrorism-specific training will be rolled out to all NSW firefighters in the next year and a new disaster-response training academy will soon start operating day and night.

"In the '70s, '80s and '90s when we were dealing with IRA-type bombs, our role was very much to respond and wait until the police said it was safe to enter," said Mr Dobson, a 37-year firefighting veteran who is in Sydney to speak at a fire and emergency management conference this week.

"In the attacks we face now, like marauding terrorist firearms attacks [shootings across multiple sites by a group of attackers], the role of firefighters is to actually go into the hot zone.

"It has changed from a defensive role to a slightly more offensive role that we've never seen before. It brings massive challenges in terms of the training and equipment we need."

Click here for the full story in The Guardian 

And here for the story which first appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald

Image source: istock

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