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USAR team take part in regional exercise

A specialist search and rescue team from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has taken part in a regional exercise involving a gas explosion at a college.

The Service’s Urban Search and Rescue Unit joined teams from West Midlands, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk and Leicestershire in a national training weekend in Lincolnshire from Friday, April 22, to Sunday, April 24.

The two-day event included an eight-hour exercise at the Waddington USAR base that mocked an explosion at a college at midnight with 15 pupils reported missing.

The eight-strong team of Essex USAR technicians used a variety of specialist equipment and techniques to rescue casualties as part of the exercise.

Sub Officer Tim Hersey, who was one of the lead instructors at the training weekend, led a workshop about lifting and moving techniques to 30 technicians throughout the day.

Other workshops covered USAR techniques in breeching and breaking, shoring up techniques and technical search.

Sub O Hersey said: “The weekend was a success and gave all five fire services in our zonal group the opportunity to come together to train for a large incident. It also allowed us to test how we respond and deploy teams to different levels of incident.

 “The exercise was difficult and complicated and helped Essex County Fire and Rescue Service prepare a major response to an explosion at a school involving many young casualties.

“I would like to thank Lincolnshire Fire Service for allowing us to train at their Waddington USAR base and to all the technicians for their dedication and determination over the weekend.”

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