A full-day exercise between Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and RAF fire crews at Coningsby last month has ensured plans are in place for any emergency on the base.

The day's packed programme saw a number of benefits for both the Service and RAF by making the most of facilities rarely available to both parties to provide reciprocal familiarisation and training.

It also helped to familiarise crews with significant heritage risks and assist in pre-planning for a situation where MOD Major Accident Control Regulation (MACR) plans could be enforced.

Divisional Commander Tim Joyce said: "Overall the day was a great success. "Forming strong relationships with key partners like the RAF allows for better pre-planning of response activities for both parties and we look forward to the larger exercises to come."

By way of introduction, crews first embarked on a brief tour of the Typhoon, a new fighter aircraft, which alerted them to the potential risks of a downed aircraft on the base to crews and the public.

Then, an exercise was held involving a multi-vehicle RTC staged to replicate an incident close to the base, in which case RAF crews would provide initial response.

MOD medics, RAF tender crews and LFR appliances worked closely together to handle the incident, which involved seven seriously-injured casualties.

This allowed the RAF an opportunity to assess their techniques and gain an understanding of how current protocols have improved interaction between the medical and extrication teams.

The exercise also provided both parties a chance to experience how the Incident Command System (ICS) would work at a joint-agency incident as did their work on the RAF's on-site aircraft simulator.

Using the simulator, Service personnel observed the effectiveness of the RAF's rapid response capabilities using a high-volume foam attack on a simulated aircraft fire.

RAF fire teams are required to attack a fire anywhere on base within two minutes, and during this part of the exercise, it became clear that the emphasis on well-drilled, speedy response is fully-embedded in their strategy.

The use of foam-making equipment on the site was invaluable to Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue staff who are unable to train regularly with firefighting foam.

Posted 11/09/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com