Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) will carry out a two-hour long rescue from the roof at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, in Gillingham on Sunday (10 July) as part of a training exercise.
The scenario unfolds after KFRS’s emergency control room staff receive a 999 call from the management team at the shopping centre, advising that a member of staff has collapsed while checking the ventilation plant on the roof of the mall.
Two fire engines from Chatham and Rainham, along with a specialist line rescue team from KFRS’s technical rescue team based in Maidstone, will be alerted and respond to the emergency incident.
After making their way to the roof, firefighters discover that the man is breathing but unresponsive. After administering the necessary first aid they will place him in a multi integrated body stretcher (MIBS) - which can be used vertically or horizontally – and lower him approximately 40 foot from the roof to the ground floor level in a controlled manner, utilising the skills of the line rescue team.
Exercise co-ordinator crew manager Scott Jones explained: "Some people might be surprised to realise what our job involves; it can be very demanding and is so much more than fighting fires and rescuing people after car crashes. We constantly train using new firefighting tactics and rescue techniques; so that we are fully able to deal with whatever emergency situation we might face and can be there when you need us."
Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre Manager, Mark Rumfitt, said: "The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount to us, so we are happy to have this opportunity to work closely with KFRS to ensure our high standards are always upheld and that our plans are fully tested. It will be a valuable training opportunity for my team and the fire crews and we are pleased to be able to help."
Scott added: "We are very grateful to Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre for providing this unusual training opportunity for us, which will test our crews’ response to rescues in unusual situations and how well the communications work between ourselves and the centre’s management team."
The exercise will run from 5pm, after the main shopping centre has closed and is expected to last approximately two hours.