Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Rescue exercise in Canvey

Firefighters had a chance to practice search and rescue techniques at an exercise in a large disused school building in Canvey.

Crews from Canvey and Wickford Fire Stations took part in a simulation at the former Castle View School site, in Meppel Avenue, last night (Tuesday, February 23).

The mock rescues were carried out over two floors along dark school corridors.

Over 25 firefighters trained to make sure they have the skills they need to carry out complex searches in smoke logged buildings with no visibility as they hunt for casualties.

Equipment used included hose reel jets, breathing apparatus, thermal image cameras and a positive pressure ventilation fan while a command centre was set up outside the school.

Guide-lines, in which ropes are laid out so crews can feel their way back to the exit, were also used to allow crews to carry out a detailed search of the building.

Sub Officer Graham Meecham, who organised the exercise, said: “The exercise was a great success and it has helped prepare crews for an incident at a large school where visibility is restricted by darkness and heavy smoke.

“It has increased firefighter’s knowledge and skills in search and rescue procedures while giving everyone taking part the opportunity to test new breathing apparatus suits and communications sets. The simulation also increased firefighter’s awareness regarding the safety and welfare of their colleagues during a search of such a large building.

“I would like to thank everyone involved with the exercise. I would also like to thank Essex County Council and Mitie Group for allowing us to use the school.”



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