Large disaster response exercise takes place in Birkenhead tunnel, UK
Merseyside Fire and Rescue (MFRS) in England’s North West, hosted the large-scale exercise, called 'EU MODEX' that saw urban search and rescue (USAR) colleagues from France, Belgium and Estonia descend on a disused spur of the tunnel and the Training and Development Academy in Croxteth between Friday, 15 March 2019 and Monday, 18 March 2019. Both locations were turned into the earthquake-hit 'Modulistan' and teams set up their base at Altcar Training Camp. It was there were they met with 'border control' role-played by MFRS staff before being deployed to carry our search and rescue operations in the tunnel or the academy.
The French urban search and rescue (USAR) team were deployed to the tunnel and were faced with several casualties who were trapped in and between crashed and overturned vehicles in a near pitch-black environment.
In Croxteth, the Belgian and Estonian teams met casualties trapped in derailed trains, overturned buses and those who were buried underneath metres of concrete and mangled metal. Casualty role players were provided by For Real Training and Priestley College.
Station manager and USAR capability officer with National Resilience, Steve Gadsdon, said, “MODEX showcased fantastic international teamwork and gave participating teams the opportunity to put their skills to the test in some extremely challenging and realistic scenarios that my team had spent weeks creating. We made sure it was as challenging and realistic as possible, especially as we knew the Belgian medium USAR team was using the Merseyside MODEX as an opportunity for a trial reclassification ahead of their actual reclassification next year. We didn’t make it easy for them, especially in the tunnel where teams were faced with a pile-up of close to 80 cars.”
During the weekend, observers from Germany, France and the Czech Republic visited the exercise sites, accompanied by colleagues from the Home Office.
Gadsdon added, “MODEX was a great success and this was entirely down to the MFRS team that worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Without exception, our guests remarked on how well they had been looked after, how hard our staff worked and how good their attitude was.
"The participants’ feedback was unanimous in stating that the build and exercise scenario was beyond the normal training events, particularly in terms of ingenuity, realism and challenge. The exercise control team were so impressed with the organisation, support and detail that everyone put into place. The entire team were exemplary ambassadors for MFRS and I am beyond proud of all of them.”
Source: Wirril Globe