Firefighters Return From New Zealand

THE six specially trained West Sussex firefighters who were part of the UK search and rescue team helping victims of the New Zealand earthquake are returning home on Tuesday.

The firefighters were part of a 60-plus strong emergency response unit made up of search and rescue specialists, doctors and medical teams.

They are:

•       Jon Lacey (who lives in Haywards Heath).
•       Ian Smith (Worthing).
•       Brian Vincent (Worthing).
•       Neil Graham (Shoreham).
•       Peter Thorpe-Hincks (Steyning).
•       Rob Negus (Hove).

The six spent Wednesday with their families. On Thursday morning, they attended a de-brief then met the media

Hear Heart's interview with team leader, Jon Lacey and Ian Smith

They are members of West Sussex County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s Technical Rescue Unit (TRU), which is based at Horley.

The TRU is equipped to respond to disasters at home or abroad. Its members have previously been deployed to earthquakes in Indonesia and Haiti.

The Unit is one of 21 specialist search and rescues teams strategically situated around the UK and primarily funded by central Government.

Pete Bradbury, County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “The whole of West Sussex will be proud of our firefighters and of the outstanding contribution they have made to the very difficult situation in Christchurch.

“I know I speak for all my colleagues when I congratulate them on a job well done in trying circumstances.

“It is most reassuring indeed to know our county possesses a team of experts who are able to respond to such catastrophes at any time.”