ON EXERCISE: Mock crash staged to hone skills
RAF Northolt stages mock crash scene with firefighters and ambulance crews to hone disaster skills
MORE than 100 firefighters teamed up with Royal Air Force Northolt for a training exercise at the former RAF base in Uxbridge.
Months in the planning, Exercise Fallen Sky saw fire crews practise their response to a military aircraft incident in a simulated but realistic environment with the armed forces.
Working with specialist teams from RAF Northolt which are qualified in military aircraft rescue, the training scenario on Tuesday last week was a chance for members of both services to hone valuable life saving skills by rescuing passengers and crew from a real aircraft fuselage.
Twelve fire engines and other specialist vehicles took part in the drill and firefighters used specialist equipment such as breathing apparatus, cutting gear and thermal imaging cameras to rescue the ‘casualties’.
With further support provided by London Ambulance Service, Metropolitan Police and the London Borough of Hillingdon, the exercise was also an opportunity for all agencies involved to improve the way they work together to respond to major incidents.
The Assistant Commissioner for Operational Response at London Fire Brigade, Tom George, said: “Like all modern fire and rescue services we train regularly to prepare for a wide range of emergencies and this exercise provided us with a unique and valuable opportunity to train in a realistic environment alongside our RAF partners and colleagues from the
Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service and the local authority.
“You can’t get this sort of experience from a text book and testing our skills and procedures in this way is important to ensure we’re always ready to respond alongside our partners in an effective and coordinated way.”
RAF Northolt’s Station Commander, Group Captain David Manning, added: “Training exercises like this are essential to test our skills, preparedness and integration with the civil organisations in the highly unlikely event of an aviation or other major incident.
“Both the RAF Northolt and London Fire Brigade teams performed impressively today and, as usual, with these complex exercises there were some valuable learning points for us all.”
London Fire Brigade reiterated that the Exercise Fallen Sky training scenario was not terrorist related and the exercise was not staged in response to any specific intelligence or threat.
Last month, emergency services mocked up a Tube disaster in a replica of Waterloo station in an effort to help train emergency service personnel.
n RESCUE: Fire crews cut ‘casualties’ from the wreckage in the staged disaster scene
n OVERVIEW: An aerial shot of the RAF Northolt training exercise
n TEAM WORK: London Ambulance also helped the fire crews
n MOCK UP: Fire engines at Raf Northolt