The course, launched in January 2022 and accredited by LANTRA, provides training and guidance for any highway teams working in dynamic environments – such as fast-moving traffic on the highway – as well as how to respond and handle incidents.
The unique point of the course is the use of the blue light services’ methodology; the specific approach they use to deal with incidents, and their mindset towards personal and team safety.
Developed in partnership with and delivered by the FSC, the course has already trained over 200 Ringway operatives, with 7 more courses planned for the second half of this year. The ultimate aim of the course is for Ringway’s teams to learn an approach they can use and apply to any situation at any time. It provides everyone who attends with a different way of thinking and prepares them to apply a learned approach when responding to whatever situation might confront them – a hazard, defect or an emergency on the road network.
Ringway supply a diverse range of highways services to both National Highways and local authorities. Its crews work in potentially dangerous environments and will often provide the first-line response to incidents and hazards on the highway. These can take the form of road traffic accidents either due to severe weather events, poor driving behaviours and other unplanned events.
The premise for the course is that risk needs to be seen as dynamic and not static and therefore the ability to think dynamically needs to be developed within highways emergency teams, to allow a greater capacity to manage risk in a changing situation. Hence the idea of adopting a blue light mentality.
The training has been hugely successful and received positively by those who have taken part. This is in part due to the collaborative approach taken to develop the training; both parties learnt a lot from the process, but was also down to the fact that the first few cohorts piloted, and adapted the programme to suit their needs. The course has been co-created by those who have most to gain from attending.
Clive Rillstone, Ringway Regional Director said: “Every one of us working in the highway sector will have had personal experience of incidents or near misses in the course of our normal work. As part of an assessment of our safety procedures and training we saw a need to improve our own approach to safety and incident response, but could not find anyone providing this ‘first response’ training for highway operations.
“We decided to think laterally, and collaboratively. We often work on incidents with colleagues from the emergency services, and were aware that they had a range of robust training and procedures that might apply in our working environments.
As well as UK firefighters, the Fire Service College trains other organisations who cope with hazardous conditions and they were our first choice as partners. It has been a brilliant partnership and a hugely instructive process. Feedback from the course has been excellent and the programme is set to run throughout this year and continue in 2023. What we want to do next is open up the training so that the whole highways sector can benefit from the new blue light mindset instilled as part of the course.”
Dominik Wellmann, MD of the FSC, said, “Fast moving dynamic environments need a quite different mind-set and what we have done is work with the Ringway team to adapt the training we deliver to firefighters and other emergency services to create LANTRA-accredited training and guidance that will benefit anyone working on the UK’s highways. Our unique and realist four-lane motorway at the college has allowed delegates to put the skills they have learned into practice. We’ve enjoyed working with Ringway and we hope our joint efforts will serve to make our roads a safer place.”