Fire crews from Exmouth and Middlemoor were also involved in the exercise to ensure joined up working in a large scale incident. The main aim of the day was for all agencies to work together bringing casualties from a point of danger to a point of safety, with everyone involved clear on their role.
The HART teams are fully trained to enter the ‘Hot Zone’ of an incident where they administer advanced medical care. Prior to trained HART crews being available, casualties had to brought out to the ambulance crews by to a ‘place of safety’ before treatment could begin. Now, having paramedics that are also HART trained means potentially lives will be saved by assessing causalities as early as possible.
Nigel Alford, Green Watch Manger in Exmouth explained the scenario: “We were called to a large scale incident in a shopping centre and on arrival we were met by the owner of the centre who said he had suffered some kind of explosion. The cause was not known although the building was undergoing construction. We first carried out a hasty search on the exterior of the building as there were a number of causalities reported.
“We then rescued several casualties from inside and carried out a further in-depth search of the interior building. We had all resources on site to complete all the rescues and everything was carried out in a methodical manner.”
HART team leader, Terry Llewellyn liaised with the fire crews and Station 60 to decide where the paramedics go when entering the Hot Zone. He explained: “To start with there was a lot of casualties, so we had to prioritise which needed the paramedic’s assistance and which were able to walk out and get themselves to the casualties clearance station. Once we knew who needed help we resourced the paramedics where they were most needed.
“Training together works really well for all involved, we’ve previously completed several exercises so we have already gelled really well as a team. This means we now know who to talk to and who to commit to a particular incident.”
Nick East Team Leader for Station 60 said: “The fire crews turn up first, as they would do, carrying out the surface rescues and begin to map the area. Then Station 60 and HART arrive and set up in a tight space to coordinate the amount of people inside and outside the hot area. This is in case if another explosion were to take place we would know where everyone was.
“When command control steps in there is a period of time when everyone is really busy then it calms down and then gets busy again. The formation between all the teams worked really well.”
Firefighter, Chuck Norris from Middlemoor commented: “It was manic to start with. My role is to isolate the incident, and gain information from the officer in charge, FC and team leader. Progress was quickly made, everyone stayed level headed and knew what they are doing and things went according to plan.”
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