Students play casualties in local emergency services exercise

Oct 4, 2023

Students from the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group recently took part in a major incident exercise with local emergency services at Xscape Yorkshire, in Castleford.

The scenario saw West Yorkshire fire, police and ambulance crews be deployed to a suspected chemical attack in a busy public area. This resulted in 65 casualties, played by Performing Arts and Public Service students of the Group, suffering from exposure to an unknown toxic substance.

As part of the exercise, West Yorkshire Police were sent in to deal with the assailant, while other emergency responders assisted in removing casualties from the building. From there, firefighters took the casualties through a mass decontamination process where they were checked for injuries, such as an increase in pulse rate and chemical burns.

Approximately 250 people, and numerous emergency service vehicles, participated in the operation, which was designed to test the joint response of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Station Manager Ronan Bruce, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, organised the exercise. He said:“Training exercises such as these are vital to the success of West Yorkshire’s emergency services, enabling crews to use real-life scenarios and venues to test the robustness and effectiveness of our emergency plans. The drill went extremely well and demonstrated how our crews can work together to respond quickly and minimise risks and casualties when dealing with major incidents.

“I would like to thank all the emergency service personnel who planned and took part in the project, as well as the students from the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group for acting as casualties and Xscape Yorkshire for hosting the exercise.”

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “Taking part in the exercise was an invaluable opportunity for our Public Service students to see first-hand how emergency service crews work together to effectively respond to incidents, as well build our Performing Arts students’ acting skills. The crews were constantly talking students through what they were doing during the exercise, which is fantastic insight for our students and will help prepare them for future careers in the emergency services or performing arts.”

This comes after West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services recently delivered a number of open water talks and demonstrations across the Group’s three Colleges in Castleford, Selby and Wakefield. The first-of-its-kind by both Fire Services, the exercises showed students and staff how to stay safe when submerged in cold open water.

Find out more about the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, at: www.heartofyorkshire.ac.uk/

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