A new, state-of-the-art facility in Lincolnshire designed to provide specialised, realistic training for search and rescue professionals is now nearing completion.

The site was designed by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue's urban search and rescue (USAR) team, which has amassed an impressive level of experience of many different search and rescue situations, including natural disasters such as those recently experienced in Haiti and Japan.

This experience was combined with the knowledge of core search and rescue disciplines in order to create the pioneering facility, which allows training for a number of scenarios that could realistically happen here the UK.

The building - which is based on a collapsed school - is the first of its kind in the country and is based at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue's Waddington training site.

It can serve for any number of scenarios, allowing search and rescue teams from all over the world to practise for deployments abroad or to meet domestic needs in an emergency such as a gas explosion or an earthquake.

The building itself features a main hall, off of which are classrooms and reception rooms, all equipped as a normal school would be, including desks and chairs.

Walls and roofs of the cutting-edge facility have also been built to pivot, allowing for training scenarios to vary.

This way, crews must thoroughly examine their technique and strategy must be employed; for example, the teams must identify how to safely and correctly shore a wall by taking into account possible movement mimicking that of an unstable structure in a real collapse.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue USAR team manager Neil Woodmansey, MBE, said the site was built to be flexible, practical, and, most importantly, realistic. "Because of how realistic the structure collapse is, there will no 'let's pretend' mentality about the training. Rather, it will allow USAR technicians a lifelike and convincing environment in which to practise the planning and management of a large-scale incident, as well as disciplines such as making a building safe by shoring, making entry through breaking and breaching, and extrication of casualties."

Neil and the Lincolnshire USAR team designed the facility themselves after identifying a need to train for incidents on home territory in a convincing atmosphere.

Two different teams of structural engineers then took the team's ideas and created the structure to their exact specifications.

Neil added: "Not only can our team now train at this exclusive facility, but we will be offering it to other teams from the UK and abroad, and it adds a fresh capability to the already extensive resources available at our Waddington site."

Lincolnshire's Waddington training site, a former MOD weapon and ammunition store that has been developed into a unique search and rescue training site, is the biggest of its kind in the country.

Located just south of the city of Lincoln, it can facilitate technical search and rescue, shoring, large animal rescue, trench rescue, safe working at height/line rescue and canine search operations on purpose-built rigs and areas.

Featured onsite are a collapsed crane area, a simulated collapsed multi-storey car park, and an industrial zone with challenging tunnel systems suitable for live casualties and the practicing of confined space rescues.

Collapsed domestic and commercial properties, a specialist shoring area, concrete and live trenches, and a large animal rescue section, which includes stables and an undercover lecture area, are also available.

And a portal frame facility on site provides a facility for undercover working at height and line rescue training.

Additionally, the site offers welfare facilities and lecture rooms of various sizes to enable meetings, debriefs, training seminars and other activities.

The site is also used to host regular exercises to prepare for emergency situations and for firefighting training. It boasts a high-spec fire training facility including a brand new fire station on site, a drill yard with drill tower, RAF bunkers modified to simulate domestic dwellings, a shop, and a commercial garage.

Hot fire units allow for general operational tactical and BA training, and a new facility allows for hot training for response to shipping port fires.

For more information about the facilities offered at the Waddington site, or to book the facilities for training, contact: communications@lincoln.fire-uk.org 


Posted January 16th, 2012 at 1000 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com