Putting 999 services to the test

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A major road traffic accident occurred on the Bedford Bypass between Great Denham and Clapham on Wednesdayinvolving three cars and a lorry – six casualties were rescued from the incident.

Luckily this was only an exercise and no one was harmed in the simulated road traffic collision (RTC).

The major exercise with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Bedfordshire Police and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) replicated a large RTC with multiple casualties and allowed each service to test how it carries out its particular roles at this type of incident and to assess how the three emergency services would work together more effectively at a real incident.

The exercise team included five fire appliances and a specialist rescue unit, six Special Police Officers and ten paramedics as well as over twenty observers from the emergency services.

The focus was on a casualty centred approach to rescue those involved in a major RTC and on how the emergency services can work more closely at these kind of serious incidents. It also assessed how they gathered and shared information, liaised with each other and implemented scene safety and evidence preservation.

Holding it on the new Bedford Western Bypass between Great Denham and Clapham, which had been completed but was not yet open for public use, gave the exercise added realism and the emergency services would like to thank Breheny Civil Engineering for allowing them to use this piece of the new bypass which has been completed but is not yet not open to the public and is in the final stages of completion.

The exercise took ran between 6pm and 9pm during which time the accident scene was created by the Fire Service who also then cleared the roadway of all evidence of the exercise before leaving the scene at 9pm.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s SM Robbie Robertson, who organised the exercise said: “The building of the new bypass gave us an excellent opportunity to test how the three emergency services work together when a major road traffic collision occurs. Practicing how we deploy our resources and work together will help us to react faster and better to any future RTCs.

“The exercise showed that together we work effectively to care for people who unfortunately find themselves caught up in similar real life incidents.

“I’d like to thank Breheny Civil Engineering for letting us use this stretch of the Bedford bypass before it is opened for public use. They have given us every assistance in the planning of the exercise and helped us immensely in ensuring the exercise went smoothly. I would also like to thank Steve Whitehouse of Cotton End Garage and Car Disposal for supplying the vehicles for the exercise and his continued support supplying vehicle to the service for training.”