Firefighters descend on Cotswold Airport to test response to aircraft collisions

Firefighters descend on Cotswold Airport to test response to aircraft collisions

Emergency services from across the country have taken part in a 36-hour training exercise to practise how they would respond to a major plane crash.

Firefighters from Avon, Hampshire, Devon & Somerset, Hereford & Worcester and Wales planned and facilitated the exercise for colleagues from London, Kent and Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Services as well as Cotswold Airport, where the exercise was hosted. Local ambulance and police colleagues also supported in the training exercise to ensure emergency services work together effectively in the event of a real major incident.

The exercise – organised with thanks to Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International – aimed to replicate a number of scenarios involving multiple aircrafts colliding with one another as well as cars, minibuses and casualties to allow realistic training scenarios for some of the countries specialist Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) teams to test their skills and learn from one another.

Student Paramedics from the University of the West of England and actors from NiMSKi Ltd were also involved in the exercise, playing the part of casualties to provide realism for those involved in the training.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager for Technical Rescue, Paul Incledon, worked closely with colleagues from across a number of Services to facilitate the exercise, he said: “This training scenario has provided an exciting and unique opportunity for Urban Search and Rescue, firefighters, paramedics, police and facilitators to test out their reaction to a major incident involving aircraft.

“Obviously we hope we will never be called to such a devastating collision, but we always train hard to ensure that in the event of the worst case scenario we are prepared.”

The aircraft used in the scenario belongs to Air Salvage International, based at Cotswold Airport, who decommission and strip the jets of their parts for recycling.

Paul added: “I’d like thank both Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International for their dedication and professionalism in helping us organise such an impactful exercise this week. Without their support, we would not have hosted such an effective and important training exercise.”