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Exercise prepares crews for A12 disaster

Firefighters and Service search and rescue specialists teamed up for an exercise which tested how they would respond to a complex rescue on the A12, a major roadway through Essex.

The exercise simulated an horrific road accident which left casualties trapped in the cars in a risky position halfway down a ditch by the side of the road.

The position of the cars not only puts casualties at extra risk but also creates a difficult and complex working environment for the crews as they rescue them.

More than 15 firefighters from Colchester and Manningtree Fire Stations teamed up with colleagues from the Urban Search and Rescue Unit for the exercise on Saturday, May 7, in Lexden.

Crews were also testing the new capabilities they have on board the Service’s new heavy rescue pumps. Colchester Fire Station has recently taken delivery of one of seven of the new appliances which were designed on a bespoke basis to meet the needs of Essex.

The heavy rescue pumps incorporate a raft of specialist rescue equipment along with pumps and hoses which mean they can be deployed at a wide variety of incidents from house fires to complex rescues including road traffic collisions.

For this exercise crews put new stabilising and rescue equipment from the heavy rescue pump to use.

Sub Officer Stephen Smith, of Colchester Fire Station’s White Watch, organised the exercise.

He said: “The exercise was a huge success and allowed firefighters to train alongside our specialist USAR team in a scenario that involved heavy lifting and rescuing casualties.

“Crews also had the opportunity to use rescue equipment from one of our new heavy rescue pumps.

“We all learnt a lot from the exercise, which was complicated because the vehicles involved had left the road in precarious positions.

“I would like to thank everyone for their dedication and enthusiasm on the day.”

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