You may remember a little while ago that we told you about the London Fire Brigade’s role in one of the biggest training exercises to ever take place in it’s 150 year history. The exercise was going to be a collaboration of various different agencies and would look to see how they would cope in the wake of a major disaster in the city. With the Met Police, the London Ambulance Service and the NHS all taking part with them, it look set to be a major event. What’s more, our expert team at euroloo were asked to be a part of it too, something we considered to be a huge honour.
Fast-forward to today and we actually got to see the first day of Exercise Unified Response in action. Co-ordinated by the London Fire Brigade, the exercise began at 09:30hrs this morning and will be taking place over the course of the next four days. The exercise itself had been set up to replicate a significant building collapse onto a London tube station – a simulation of Waterloo. It incorporated a lot of heavy transport as well as mass casualties, of which there will be more than one thousand over the course of the four days.
To make sure they were able to create a truly realistic scene, “Waterloo tube station” was recreated and subsequently “crushed” in a disused power station in Dartford, close to the crossing, however this wasn’t the only venue. There were also four other separate venues that were part of the big exercise located in central and south east London too.
Taking more than a year in the planning stages alone, today was certainly a big day in the diary and with hundreds of emergency responders, along with causalities and thousands of tonnes of rubble, as well as seven tube carriages, the pressure was on. The London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson had this to say, “Exercises of this scale are important to ensure that we are always ready to respond no matter what happens. You can’t get this sort of experience from a text book, we need to play it like it’s real and ensure that should the worst happen, our response is effective and well coordinated.”
“An incident of this size affects everyone from thousands of stranded commuters who can’t get home, to distraught relatives who can’t reach loved ones and we are working with TFL, local councils and various voluntary organisations to simulate the wider and longer term impacts that any major disaster would have on the community.”
Exercises of these kind aren’t exactly cheap either with a reported £1m having been donated by partners including TFL. McGee Demolition Group even donated thousands of tonnes of rubble too. So where did we come in to it? Well, as with any large scale incident here in the UK, euroloo are on hand to provide the necessary sanitation facilities to enable rescue workers to work as productively as possible and that’s exactly what we were able to provide. Today was certainly an exciting day but what the rest of the exercise will involve, we can only imagine at this point. If it’s half as exciting as today, then we just know it’s going to be a fantastic experience for both emergency services training and outsiders such as ourselves getting to see them in action.