Emergency services test skills in dramatic motorway pile-up exercise
On Saturday 01 October firefighters, ambulance crews and police officers gathered at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire for Exercise St Francis; a large-scale, multi-agency exercise designed to further enhance the skills of emergency responders.
This year's exercise scenario compromised of a large scale incident on the motorway, involving over 75 vehicles and approximately 120 casualties. Staff from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS), West Mercia Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service were faced with crumpled cars strewn across three lanes of the 'motorway', many of which had casualties within. Working together, the emergency services tackled the car fires, freed people from their vehicles, tended to the many casualties and dealt with the traffic.
Designed by the three blue light services, the exercise aimed to test and evaluate the response of the emergency services and ultimately improve preparedness for a major incident of this kind.
Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis said: "This year's exercise allowed us to examine and review our motorway procedures and further enhance our joint response so that we can collectively respond in the best way possible. Training in highly realistic scenarios also ensures that all those involved are as prepared and confident as they can be for any future large scale emergencies."
Chief Inspector Mark Colquhoun from West Mercia Police said: "We are pleased to have had this opportunity to train, plan and prepare with our blue-light colleagues. Whilst there are many ways in which we test plans, physically enacting a scenario, in a safe environment, is incredibly effective. This weekend's exercise has reassured us that, should the worst happen, our response will be effective and well-coordinated."
Approximately 200 staff, 14 fire engines, 3 ambulances, several police cars and a police helicopter took part in the exercise.
If you think you have what it takes to be an on-call firefighter and fancy joining HWFRS, please visit www.hwfire.org.uk to view all of the latest vacancies.