• Badge West Mids 1

    “I would like to commend you and your team on a well run, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable experience at this excellent competition.  My team and I learnt a great deal from the feedback we received.

    Iain Evans
    Crew Commander
    West Midlands Fire Service
  • WFRSLogo

    “With the reduced number of fire shouts, there’s a natural skills fade. The BA competition gave us a real focal point – a sense of purpose – and helped us attain an extremely high level of operational readiness. This can only be a good thing for both fire fighters and the communities we protect.

    If we are able to enter a team this year, I wouldn’t hesitate to put my name in the hat.”

    Andy McKelvie
    Warwickshire Fire & Rescue
  • herts

    “The National BA Challenge is an excellent, well run event that not only provides a chance to compete against fellow Firefighters, but also promotes best operational practice and Firefighter safety.  Hertfordshire FRS have really enjoyed the last 3 years of competing and were delighted to become National Champions in 2014.”

    Frank Gollogly
    Station Commander
    Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue
  • Badge West Mids 2

    “Having been part of a team that reached the National BA Competition at Moreton I can only bare witness to a very professional and well organised competition that promotes best practice amongst crews.  It provides crews with the arena to demonstrate their BA skills and fore ground knowledge against other Brigades from all over the country.  The environment is controlled and the scenarios realistic.”

    Paul Heath
    Crew Commander
    West Midlands Fire Service
12th October 2024

Welcome to the National Breathing Apparatus Challenge

Promoting best practice in Breathing Apparatus, the competition is open to all of the UK Fire and Rescue Services.  Finals are held every year at the Fire Service College.

Assessment is carried out using skilled staff from different Fire and Rescue Services from around the UK. From Command and Control to Lead Breathing Apparatus and Fire Behaviour Instructors.

Teams enter from the wide range of roles across the UK Fire Service. We look forward to another great year for NBAC.

Challenge Equipment

Teams will be allocated a fire appliance if required (some teams bring their own) 45 minutes prior to their run-off in order to check the appliance and to stow it for operational readiness taking into account correct manual handling.

The appliance will have:

  • 2 x hose reels and branches
  • 1 x standpipe key and bar
  • 8 x lengths of hose and a main branch

Teams can use their own communications equipment, but if they do so they must provide 2 radios for assessors, if not they will have to use college radios.

All other equipment will be provided by the teams as they seem fit.

2024 Challenge

This year’s event will see teams of 5 firefighters from throughout the UK competing for the best BA Team of 2024  Each team will be faced with a scenario of a property fire, with teams being given 30 minutes to extinguish the fire and rescue any casualties.

The event, which is sponsored by Draeger UK and supported by the Fire Fighter Charity, promotes best practice and firefighter safety in the following categories:

  • Incident Command
  • Fire Ground Procedures
  • Entry Control
  • BA Wearing

All teams will be assessed by National Assessors who specialise in their fields across the UK Fire and Rescue Service. The winners of the challenge will have shown their technical and practical skills and dexterity, as well as knowledge and experience.

Due to the costs incurred by registering places for the challenge, the accommodation and meal, any team cancelling within 28 days of the challenge will not be eligible for a refund.

For further details contact

NBAC Leaflet

Please feel free to download and circulate around your brigade.

National BA Challenge Leaflet



Challenge Guidance

Venue: Fire Service College

Date: Friday 11th  – Sunday 13th October 2024

All competing teams are advised meet at the Edinburgh Bar on Friday 11th October 2024  from 19:30 onwards where lead assessors will be available for questions and queries.

The competition will commence at 08:00 on the Saturday morning.

On Saturday evening there will be a formal dining in ceremony where the presentations will take place.  This will be black tie or full undress uniform event. We ask you all to keep with tradition during the meal and keep the full undress uniform on unless instructed to remove jackets by the senior officer on the day.

The entry fee will cover the cost of the Accommodation for Friday and Saturday, meals for the Saturday and Sunday morning , silver service meal on Saturday evening for the five team members only.  Other personnel and team members’ partners / guests are welcome to attend the dining on ceremony on the Saturday, but there will be an additional charge.

Overnight accommodation for Friday and Saturday night is available for team members and other personnel at the Fire Service College which can be booked though NBAC.  

Teams and any guests will need to book and pay the entry fee and accommodation costs directly to NBAC email requests to and must include any additional guests. An invoice will then be sent out to you. 

Payment of the entry fee and accommodation must be received before the 3rd September 2024 any cancellation after this date will not be refunded. 

Challenge Rules

All teams will consist of FIVE personnel and will be assessed in the following areas:

  • Command & Control
  • Breathing Apparatus procedures
  • Fire ground procedures
  • Entry control

Each team will be assessed by five assessors:

  • 1 x Assessing Command & Control, this assessor must be Sector Competent in, Incident Command and hold the role of at least Watch Commander.
  • 2 x Assessing the Breathing Apparatus wearers, and 1 assessing Breathing Apparatus Entry Control procedures.  These assessors must be current Brigade Breathing Apparatus Instructors.
  • 1 x Assessing general fire ground procedures, this assessor must be an Operational Instructor from a Brigade training centre.
  • Three venues have been identified at the Fore Service College as suitable for this year’s Challenge.  There will be an independent assessor at each venue.

Challenge Scenario

The team, together with the appliance will make its way to the holding area.

The Incident Commander will be given a turnout slip with the Incident Scenario and some 7.2(d) information.

The Incident Commander will have 1 minute to ask questions, he/she will then have a further minute to brief his/her team.

He/she will then respond to the incident taking into account the speed limit on the Fore Service College fore ground which is 10mph.

Upon arrival, the team will have a maximum of 30 minutes to resolve the incident.

The exercise will be terminated by verbal communication to the Incident Commander and by radio communications to the Breathing Apparatus wearers.

At the end of the 30 minutes, crews will be hot debriefed by the assessors.

Each competing team will receive a generic debrief reports some weeks after the Challenge.

The winning team and holders of the National BA Challenge trophy, will be the team with the highest combined marks.

Please contact for any queries

Competition Structure

There are no more than two assessors per discipline from the same Brigade.

No assessor is allowed to assess or be actively involved in the marking process of their own Brigade’s run-off.

The assessing team is made up of varying Brigades and Services to ensure impartiality.

Accommodation Booking

Please book your accommodation when booking your teams entry this can be done by emailing 


Feedback is a valuable process of learning and development in all aspects of work.

The attached documents below provide feedback on key aspects of this year’s competition.

Fireground feedback

BA Teams Improvement

ECO Generic Feedback

OIC Generic Feedback

At NBAC we pride ourselves on values and have aligned ours to the NFCC code of of Ethics. 

A national Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services in England has been developed in partnership with the National Fire Chiefs Council, Local Government Association, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to support a consistent approach to ethics, including behaviours, by fire and rescue services in England. 

It will help to improve the organisational culture and workforce diversity of FRSs, ensuring that communities are supported in the best way. 

Wall of Fame




 West Yorks



Hereford and Worcester


West Mids


West Mids


West Mids



South Yorks FRS



South Yorks FRS



South Yorks FRS






West Mids



 West Mids



 South Yorks



 West Mids



 West Yorks






Fire Fighters Prepare to Face the Biggest Ever BA Challenge

A tough test of strength and fitness is in store for fire fighters across the country as they gear up for the biggest national Breathing Apparatus Challenge (BA Challenge) now in its twelfth year. This year, the event will be held again at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, sponsored by Draeger Safety UK.

The BA Challenge, which will take place on a Saturday on October 3rd  2020, demonstrates best practice and puts fire fighters skills to the test as top teams from around the UK pit their wits against each other in a series of tough challenges, including incident command, fire ground procedures, entry control and use of breathing apparatus.

Draeger Safety UK has been the official sponsor of the BA Challenge since it first started ten years ago. Greg Barber, Fire Service Business Development Manager from Draeger Safety UK, said: “The BA Challenge is a fantastic event to be involved with and we are proud to be the official sponsors for the eight year running”.

Lee Sketchley, event organiser, from West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Rescuing people from difficult situations is part and parcel of a fire fighter’s life and the BA Challenge offers teams from around the country the chance to demonstrate the skills they have developed to the highest standard”.

“Nothing beats highly realistic training and simulated scenarios are essential to help fire fighters develop the skills they need in order to deal with emergency situations. As well as offering teams from around the country the opportunity to demonstrate best practice, the BA Challenge also gives them an opportunity to fine tune their skills”.

“We are all looking forward to the event– more teams than ever signed up to take part last year 18 in total, and we’re pleased to have the backing of Draeger Safety UK, to help us make the challenge bigger and better than ever before. Draeger Safety UK has been supporting this event since it first began and continues to support fire fighters in this hazardous profession.

To find out more about Draeger Safety UK, visit


Please contact for any queries.