For a six-week period during May and June, an arrangement under the auspices of European defence training saw the UK’s Ministry of Defence play host to the Dutch military fire service (Brandweer) at its Defence Fire Training and Development Centre at the former Royal Air Force Manston in Kent.
The trainees were drawn from all three arms of the Netherlands military services. The Dutch instructors had travelled from their base at Woensdrecht whilst the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) trainees were drawn from several Dutch airfields, including Eindhoven, Leeuwarden, Volkel and Gilze Rijen.
They brought their own equipment, including two E-ONE fire tenders, which in the words of one of their instructors was: “To develop trust and build confidence and familiarity with their own vehicle.”
A whole spectrum of training and rescue exercises were developed, including various types of building scenarios, car accidents and hot fire training. Some of the Dutch fire-fighters are unable to undertake such training at their home bases due to the potential for contaminating local fresh water supplies, whereas DFTDC has a purpose built interceptor system to catch any pollutants.
The two E-ONE crash tenders were transported from Woensdrecht and Eindhoven airports, initially by ferry and then on the back of a low-loader lorry as they are not street legal in the UK.