Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will be holding a large scale training exercise this weekend to test both its own and National Resilience assets in the event of a major emergency.

The training event, known as Exercise Olympus, is the culmination of many months of planning, and will be held at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th March.

As well as testing the deployment of National Resilience Assets, it also aims to test the interoperability between the neighbouring fire and rescue services and the other agencies taking part.

While the precise nature of the exercise will only be revealed to participants on the day itself, it will be based on a simulated explosion said to have occurred at a university college campus. A multi-agency attendance will be required to assist with a building collapse and a large number of casualties, some that are unaccounted for. Those attending will also face a number of other distraction events during the course of the exercise.

There will be fire crews and the USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) attending, plus further USAR teams from South Wales and Merseyside fire and rescue services, all supported by their search dogs.

Neighbouring fire and rescue services (Shropshire and Gloucestershire) will also participate, along with ambulance crews and paramedics from West Midlands Ambulance Service, plus BASICS and HART (Hazard Area Response Team) doctors. Young firefighters and art and design students from Worcester College of Technology will also help to make the exercise as realistic as possible by acting as casualties, and using their make-up skills to simulate injuries. The services of the specialist agency Amputees in Action will also be used, with trained professional amputee actors taking part in the simulated emergency.

Observers from the National Resilience Centre will also attend the exercise.

Station Commander Roberto Mourino from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said: "We've called this training 'Exercise Olympus' because it is taking place in the Olympic year and it is a huge scale event, the largest of its kind in the region. It's designed to test the use of National Resilience Assets in conjunction with local resources, and it also brings together a number of agencies that would be called upon in a genuine emergency.

"It is sure to prove invaluable for planning our joint response to large scale incidents in the region in the future, and we are proud to be playing such a key role in the exercise."

He confirmed that Exercise Olympus was being publicised in advance to avoid any undue concern if people notice significant numbers of fire engines and specialist vehicles heading to the venue, but that full details would not be disclosed until afterwards to ensure that those participating have to react in the same way they would in a genuine emergency situation.

He also reassured the public that the usual high level of fire cover they expect across Herefordshire and Worcestershire would continue while Exercise Olympus was underway.


Posted March 13th, 2012 at 1530 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: