Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Rail exercise prepares crews for major incident

A major exercise held in Colchester over the weekend simulated a head on collision between two trains with more than 50 casualties on board and fires in two of the train carriages.

More than 50 firefighters took part in exercise Boudicca’s Chariot joining colleagues from Essex Police, East of England Ambulance Service, St John’s Ambulance, Network Rail and train operators Abellio Greater Anglia.

Crews from Colchester, Wivenhoe, Witham, Tiptree, Manningtree, Frinton, Clacton and the Urban Search and Rescue took part on Sunday, February 21.

The exercise, organised by Sub Officer Andrew Deex and Leading Firefighter Sunil Galvin, helped test the County’s multi-agency response to a major train crash at Colchester Town Station.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used hose reel jets, thermal image cameras, cutting equipment and a 60-tonne hydraulic jack to lift a carriage during the simulation.

Sub O Deex said: “The exercise was challenging and allowed firefighters to practice their command and control skills in a major realistic scenario.  It was a huge success and allowed all the crews to further understand roles and responsibilities within a multi-agency operation so that if we have to deal with an incident like this for real we will all know exactly what we need to do and where we need to be.

“We achieved our goals and objectives in preventing the fire spreading and saving lives while testing the County’s response to a head-on train crash with many casualties.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the exercise. A massive thanks to Abellio Greater Anglia and Network Rail who allowed us to carry out the exercise at the station.”

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