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‘Blue light’ training is first to achieve accreditation

22 August 2008

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has become the first in the country to earn national accreditation from the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) for its ‘blue light’ driver training programme.

The seal of approval marks the culmination of four years of work by the Service, focused on raising standards of training for firefighters and officers driving to emergencies.

The IAM is now hoping that other fire and rescue services will follow Nottinghamshire’s example, setting similarly high standards in their training and seeking the rewards that accreditation can offer to organisations and individuals.

Emergency Fire Appliance Driver (EFAD) training for Nottinghamshire firefighters used to be a four-day course. This has now been modified and extended to encompass 10 days of training in Roadcraft, legislation and legal exemptions, vehicle characteristics, eco driving and skid prevention and control theory. The IAM has assessed the scope and level of training against its own criteria, and given its endorsement to the course.

The Emergency Light Vehicle Driving (ELVD) course for officers responding to emergencies in cars has also been subject to similar assessment by the IAM, and has been awarded the same accreditation.

The focus for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) was improving the quality of driver training, but there are other benefits as well. Students who do particularly well during training will be invited to become personal members of the IAM, and will be exempt from the standard IAM Advanced Driving Test. And NFRS has seen its insurance premium cut by about £100,000 per year, partly thanks to its new and more comprehensive training programme.

Nottinghamshire’s success has already excited interest from fire and rescue services in other parts of the country, keen to find out how the courses were developed.

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