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‘Autumn Leaves’ success for emergency services

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) completed Service Exercise Autumn Leaves on Sunday 13 October 2019, giving fire crews and other emergency services the opportunity to plan a response for a fire in a residential care home.

blue-light collaboration

Up to twenty emergency services vehicles and around 200 firefighters from Hereford & Worcester and colleagues from both Shropshire and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) joined the exercise, which enabled the testing of the use of breathing apparatus in a multi-Service operation, as well as the command and control of a complex incident.

The exercise was supported by colleagues from West Mercia Police, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Worcester Health and Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire County Council, and West Midlands Ambulance Service. All were able to assess the response and management of an incident which required the evacuation, rescue and re-accommodation of many vulnerable people.

The drones from HWFRS provided eyes-in-the-sky to assist with incident command and also the search for a missing person.

BA training

Group Commander Rob Allen of HWFRS said: “Exercise Autumn Leaves gave us the opportunity to challenge our firefighters with a complex incident and the rescue of vulnerable people from a large building, using breathing apparatus.

“We worked together with crews from other Services, our partners from the other emergency services, and the NHS, and will use what we learned from the day to ensure our operational plans best protect our communities in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

“Exercise Autumn Leaves is an important part of continuous crew training and resilience planning for HWFRS, which are integral to the Service’s vision of ‘Saving More Lives’ in the two counties.”


Editors’ notes

Contributors to HWFRS Service Exercise Autumn Leaves include West Mercia Police, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Worcester Health and Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Worcestershire County Council, Wyre Forest District Council, and volunteers from Herefordshire Council, various care homes, and the County Voluntary Emergency Committee.