“An epic and inspiring weekend” - WFS National Training and Development Weekend 2018


From abseiling down the side of buildings on the College incident ground to tackling the tunnels and confined spaces on the USAR rig, there was something for everyone at the Women in Fire Service 18th National Training Development Weekend, 8 – 9 June.

A total of 212 delegates representing 30 UKFRS, the Netherlands, Sweden and the RNLI came together, supported by a total of 17 services which provided instructors and enabling the WFS onsite ‘purple’ team to attend.

The weekend started on Friday afternoon with icebreaker activities, networking opportunities and opening ceremony at which Dany Cotton, WFS Chair and Commissioner for London Fire Brigade gave an inspirational talk encouraging the audience to have self-belief.  

Dany said “We all have the ability to be brilliant people and we all have ability to effect change in our own way.  It might be that we don’t all want to get promoted but individually we can all make a massive difference to someone’s day whether that is at work or at home. We have huge potential, we all have doubts and we all doubt our own ability at times. We all think should we do that, are we capable of doing that, am I strong enough, can I help someone else? The answer is yes you can.”

Concluding her talk Dany tasked everyone “To make a difference somehow this weekend, it can be a really tiny difference and it can just be by talking to someone, by reaching out to somebody, by sharing information, by learning something new to take back to your work place. This is the best learning environment, I can guarantee, you will ever be in. It is full of open, amazing, diverse and interesting people you can learn from.  These people here are the people we should learn from. Remember we are all brilliant people but together we are even more brilliant as a fantastic team.”

The weekend is a great opportunity for both operational and support delegates to come together and take part in practical activities on the incident ground and classroom based workshops.

On Saturday, operational personnel had the opportunity to take part in a whole day multi-incident training scenario, involving two and four pump exercises, on the unique incident ground at the College.

Practical workshops open to all delegates included: fire behaviour with the opportunity to see first-hand the typical combustion process within a fire compartment and the contribution to fire development provided by the elements of the structure; search and rescue dogs demonstration;  incident command using the College simulation suite;  “be a firefighter” experience which gives delegates an opportunity “to have a go” at many aspects of the role of a firefighter; appliance driving, an opportunity to put driving skills to the test at the wheel of a fire engine.  

A wide-ranging number of classroom based workshops included: fascinating insights into fire investigation; advanced trauma; first aid basic skills and defib training; fire control room; managing stress; interviewing techniques; public speaking;  women in leadership.

Just a few examples of the great feedback received are highlighted below:

 “I would just like to say thank you to everyone involved that made this an epic and inspiring weekend”

“Thank you to all the staff at the Fire Service College for all the support you constantly gave us”

“What a fantastic and inspirational weekend”

“Had the most amazing experience from start to finish, every workshop and all the people at the WFS were fantastic. Thank you”


Next years event will be taking place at the Fire Service College from the 21 - 23 June 2019.