Fire fighters descend on Cotswold Airport to test response to aircraft collisions, UK
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service Urban Search and Rescue team joined emergency services from across the UK in a 36-hour training exercise to practice how they would respond to a major plane crash. Fire fighters from Avon, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Devon and Somerset, Hereford and Worcester and Wales planned and facilitated the exercise for colleagues from London, Kent and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Services as well as Cotswold Airport, where the exercise was hosted. Local ambulance and police colleagues also supported in the training exercise to ensure emergency services work together effectively in the event of a real major incident.
The exercise, organised thanks to Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International, aimed to replicate a number of scenarios involving multiple aircrafts colliding with one another as well as cars, minibuses and casualties to allow realistic training scenarios for some of the countries specialist Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams to test their skills and learn from one another.
Student paramedics from the University of the West of England and actors from NiMSKi Ltd were also involved in the exercise, playing the part of casualties to provide realism for those involved in the training.
Avon Fire and Rescue Service station manager for Technical Rescue, Paul Incledon, worked closely with colleagues from across a number of services to facilitate the exercise, he said, “This training scenario has provided an exciting and unique opportunity for Urban Search and Rescue, fire fighters, paramedics, police and facilitators to test out their reaction to a major incident involving aircraft. Obviously we hope we will never be called to such a devastating collision but we always train hard to ensure that in the event of the worst case scenario we are prepared.”
The aircraft used in the scenario belong to Air Salvage International, based at Cotswold Airport, who decommission and strip the jets of their parts for recycling.
Paul added, “I’d like thank both Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International for their dedication and professionalism in helping us organise such an impactful exercise this week. Without their support, we would not have hosted such an effective and important training exercise.”
Sources: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service
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