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Rescue Technician, Brid Casey of Shannon who is about to compete at Grimp North America in March. Photograph by John Kelly

Sisters doing it for themselves in LA rescue skills competition

Champion Chatter Podcast

LOCAL woman Brid Casey is part of the first all-female team that will compete in the GRIMP North America competition which will be held in Los Angeles next month.

It is an international rescue skills challenge and will be hosted on the Battleship Iowa.

GRIMP is a competition that originated in Belgium in the mid 2000s for rescue teams to pit their skills against one another.

“Some of them are fire service, some of them work in industry and come together, some of them are rescue teams from different mountains, there’s cave rescue,” explains Brid.

“The competition goes over four days, there are different scenarios set, everyone competes on those and there’s a winner announced. GRIMP North America is a spin off from that.

“It was on in LA in 2019 and initially they planned to have it every second year, but Covid interfered with that. This is going to be the second year of it.

“Twelve teams compete, it’s international so there are teams from all over the world and we’ll be the very first all-female team to compete in any of the GRIMP events.”

The other competitors are based in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and the US.

On how she got in touch with the other competitors, she said, “I’m involved in Clare Civil Defence and we had a technical rescue team for several years before the decision was taken not to continue on, at a national level.

“Before that happened a gang of us went over to look at the competition in Belgium and see if we could train and compete at that level. While I was over there I met several of the competitors and made friends with one of them. The next year I went back to volunteer and she introduced me to some of the other teams and competitors and we’ve been friends ever since.”

One made a suggestion that they get an all-female team together, and with most of the members in place, two more from North America who heard about it on Facebook got in touch. 

Ideally the team would train together, but that’s not possible given the fact they are spread across numerous countries.

Some of them have been able to meet up, but Brid hasn’t had the chance to do so.

“I have to wing it here, but Dublin Fire Brigade have got a place in the competition in Belgium, so they have invited me to train with them, so I’ll be going to Dublin for my training.”

She will be the ‘victim’ on the team, but is working on building her skills and would like another role next year.

“I’m going to be the victim for the team, I’ll be the one in the stretcher so there’s less pressure on me for technical skills at the minute. But I have a couple of courses coming up at the middle and end of this year that will allow me to better my skills for next year, so I’d hope to be able to change roles next year.”

Brid is very excited about taking part in the competition.

“There’s a lot of learning, there’s meeting friends, you leave every single competition with a whole host of new friends, there’s a huge chance to learn from other teams about how they do things. It’s a massive opportunity. The fact that we’re the very first all female team in such a male dominated area is incredible.”

She would love to hear from any potential sponsors, ahead of the competition, which will take place from March 24-26.

“We have some sponsors from equipment companies, they have been quite generous, but things like hiring a van over there, flights accommodation, team t-shirts, the entry fee for the competition, that all has to come out of our pocket. That has been a challenge.”

Owen Ryan
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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.