A coach, carrying around 50 college students has been involved in a multi-vehicle pile-up. An articulated lorry has rolled onto several of the cars, almost crushing them and a car involved in the collision is on fire.
Fortunately, this scenario is part of a major training exercise called Exercise Typhoon, designed to test the joint response of the emergency services and other agencies. It is taking place on land at BAE Systems (next to the new Rochester Fire Station) at Marconi Way, Rochester on Tuesday, 13 September between 1pm and 3pm.
Around 50 firefighters, 10 fire engines and specialist vehicles, will work alongside South East Coast Ambulance Service, Kent Police and the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance to rescue casualties, provide emergency medical care and extinguish the car fire that threatens to engulf other vehicles. Medway Council will establish a welfare centre.
Station Manager Stuart Beadle, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) Exercise Director said: "Being well prepared to respond to emergencies when they occur is at the centre of what we do. This valuable and realistic training opportunity will enable all the agencies to test and validate their emergency plans.
"Our joint aim is to provide the best possible outcome for those involved in any emergency situation we are called to; we all have a part to play in providing that life-saving care."
Exercise Typhoon will see KFRS crews using the latest, extremely powerful heavy duty hydraulic rescue equipment to create the space needed to lift causalities clear from the wreckage. As well as stab jacks, HGV stabilisation kits, airbags and a working platform to enable firefighters to work at height to access and rescue casualties from the coach and heavy goods vehicle.
Simultaneous rescue operations will take place involving teams of firefighters and paramedics assigned to work at each vehicle, to enable the rescue of multiple ‘casualties’ from a range of different vehicles.
KFRS' Technical Rescue Team will provide additional support; their capability includes specialist kit to lift, cut and remove concrete or rubble from collapsed structures along with sophisticated equipment for finding casualties, including special cameras.
Compressed air foam (CAFs) will be used to tackle the car fire and prevent it spreading to other vehicles in the crash scenario. While KFRS’ drone will provide an overview from the sky of what crews on the ground are facing, to help incident commanders with their situation awareness and decision making.
Sallyann Mclean, Site Executive Lead at BAE Systems in Rochester, said: "BAE Systems is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate and we’re pleased to provide Kent Fire and Rescue Service with an area to perform this important and valuable training exercise."
Stuart ended: "As we improve our appliances, equipment and resources to meet the needs of the county, we need to ensure that our teams’ knowledge and experience continues to match this enhanced capability. This large scale incident over a protracted area will provide an excellent opportunity for all the agencies to review and improve their plans to ensure lessons learnt help advance our procedures going forward.
"We are extremely grateful to BAE Systems for providing the space to allow us to undertake this essential training, to Kingsferry Coaches and Mick Gould Recovery for providing vehicles on the day for us to work with and the students and staff from Mid Kent College for taking part as our ‘mock’ casualties."
KFRS would like to reassure local residents that there will be minimum disruption to the surrounding area.
Note to Editors: