THE County Carlow Fire and Rescue Service scooped multiple awards recently when they took part in an extrication and trauma challenge in Newcastle, Co Wicklow, including a lifetime achievement award for one of its members.

Firefighter Paul Curran, stationed at the Carlow town fire station, was presented with a lifetime achievement award, having spent the past 30 years at the forefront of improving rescue practices, skills and equipment.

“I was very surprised to be presented with the award; I wasn’t expecting it so it was quite emotional,” Paul told ***The Nationalist***.

The experienced crew, which is recognised across the world, having won several top awards in international competitions, also scooped the top prize in the trauma challenge and came third in the extrication challenge.

These latest awards follow one of their most dangerous, real-life challenges, when firefighters from across the county managed to contain a massive fire at a tool-making factory in Carlow town just two weeks previously.

The team’s hard work, skill and bravery were acknowledged in recent weeks at Carlow County Council’s annual Cathaoirleach’s Awards, when outgoing chairman cllr Fintan Phelan presented acting chief officer Liam Carroll with an award. The team also achieved an international ISO 45001 certificate, which regulates policies, procedures and work practices in their safety systems.

“As a frontline emergency service, our main priority, the main objective of the work we do, is to protect the lives and property of all of the citizens of Co Carlow. Unfortunately, at times, given the nature of our work, we can face very unpredictable and potentially very dangerous situations, whether that be attempting to extinguish a burning structure or when working on the side of a public road dealing with a road-traffic collision,” said Mr Carroll at the awards ceremony.

Mr Carroll paid particular tribute to the trauma and extrication team, acknowledging their skill and their success in national and international rescue challenge competitions.

Carlow County Fire Service has been involved in both national and international competitive rescue challenges since 2006 and in that time has won the overall Irish National Team Title seven times. They have won numerous international team titles, as well as countless individual honours for the incident commander, technical teams and medical assessment