Fire Service Emergency Simulation

Uniformed Protective Services students assist with multi-agency emergency simulation

Uniformed Protective Services students from Hartpury College joined emergency services from across the region to take part in a large-scale emergency training exercise at Cotswold Airport.

The event was facilitated by Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AFRS) with firefighters from Avon, Gloucestershire, Dorset & Wiltshire, West Midlands, and Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Services, as well as Cotswold Airport. 30 first and second-year Level 3 Extended Diploma Uniformed Protective Services students volunteered to be part of the event, adding a touch of reality for those participating in the training.

They worked with police, ambulance, and military colleagues to respond to an emergency simulation with a number of casualties requiring medical assistance. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) also attended the training at the airport near Kemble.

Thanks to Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International, the three-day training exercise involved multiple scenarios, including a plane crash, a terrorist attack, trapped casualties and the discovery of an identified device and suspected nerve agent. As part of this training, the police declared Operation Plato and Operation Tapestry – rarely exercised – in response to the staged terrorist attacks.

Shane Saunders, Watch Manager at Hicks Gate Fire Station, said: "This training exercise has provided an exciting and unique opportunity for Urban Search and Rescue, firefighters, paramedics, police, military, and facilitators to test their reaction to a major incident involving aircrafts. Although we hope we'll never be called to such a devastating incident, it's vital that we practice our response and how we work alongside other agencies.

"I'd like to say a special thank you to all the hardworking individuals within AFRS and externally involved in the planning, preparing and facilitation of the training exercise. It's been three years in the making as we wanted to ensure there was plenty for everyone in attendance to properly apply their knowledge, experience, and skills to different scenarios and it was successful in doing that."

Matt Armstrong, Area Manager for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, commented on the value of the exercise: "This training exercise has provided a fantastic opportunity for us to work in collaboration with other services, partners, and organisations as well as enabling us to assure our levels of response to significant incidents.

"Simulated incidents are developed to reflect potential real-life scenarios ensuring that we are fully prepared and can respond effectively and appropriately when we are needed."

Nicholas Howson, Lecturer in Uniformed Protective Services at Hartpury College, said: “This was a unique and valuable opportunity for our students to participate in a large-scale multi-agency exercise involving blue light services and the armed forces. The students thoroughly enjoyed this hands-on experience which was both educational and engaging and provided a real insight into the vital roles played by the teams.

“The students (we hope) provided enough of a necessary distraction whilst the various services on the scene carried out their respective tasks and liaised with each other accordingly. We used it as a discussion point on return to Hartpury College as this type of exercise is invaluable as a hands-on and reflective practice for much of the content we deliver on the course, not least the ‘Planning and Responding to Emergency Incidents’ unit.”

Study at Hartpury College

Hartpury College’s Uniformed Protective Services courses help students to make decisions, problem solve and analyse situations, developing vital skills ready for a successful career. The College’s links with Gloucestershire Constabulary, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, the RAF, Royal Marines and British Army, as well as various outdoor adventure centres, bring learning to life and enable students to make long-lasting connections for their future career.

Earlier this year, Hartpury College retained Ofsted Outstanding in all areas, and received the highest grade for meeting skills needs.