Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Firefighters take part in training exercise at Colchester Football Stadium

Firefighters took part in a training exercise at Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester yesterday (Sunday 26 February).

Nine fire engines, specialist appliances and dozens of fire officers were joined by on-site staff from the stadium, Essex Police and the East of England Ambulance Service for this large scale multi-agency exercise.

The exercise was designed to test the response of the on-site staff and the emergency services to a large scale chemical incident at the stadium on a match day just before kick-off.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s, Assistant Divisional Officer, Lee Palfreyman said:

“This multi-agency exercise was a huge success. Training exercises like this are an excellent opportunity for us to work alongside our emergency services colleagues and the on-site staff to practice all of our response and procedures.

“It was really important to us that we worked with the on-site marshals and security staff, as their initial response would be key in situations like these.

“We had around two hundred students from Colchester Institute who volunteered to be football fans in the stands. They were all fantastic, and helped create a more realistic environment for the exercise.

“Overall, we have taken away lots of learning points which we will feed back to the stadium and our own operational staff to make sure we are as prepared as we can for this type of incident”.

Weston Homes Community Stadium Operations Manager, Sean McQuaid said:

We were really pleased to be able to work with the local emergency services to put together this exercise at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

“We already enjoy a good relationship with these groups in light of the help they already give us, so it was great to be able to make the stadium available for this event.

“The training exercise also involved our stewards that work on a Colchester United match day and other security staff, so it proved to be a useful piece of work in testing how robust our existing emergency procedures are, as well as identifying ways we can improve them further.

“We look forward to working on similar events in the future and we will continue to make best efforts for the stadium to be a safe and welcoming place to come.”

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