Students died and others were seriously injured after an explosion at a “halls of residence” on a college campus in Lynn
The scenario was not real but the 30 students from the uniformed services section of the College of West Anglia who took part in the training session at the fire station on Lynn’s northern bypass gave eight crew members the chance to carry out rescue procedures training.
Crew manager Phil Tinkley told the students: “You were incredible. We couldn’t do it without you.”
He said he hoped the fire service would be supported by the college’s uniformed services section to help in further training exercises.
His comments were echoed by Caroline Mallott, a college lecturer, who had organised the students and helped with making them up to resemble ones with serious head and body injuries and others who were clearly dead.
Students were also asked to play-act, screaming, crying, one had an epileptic fit, another was struggling to breathe.
To make it more realistic students were organised to appear as if they had cuts/blood; ashen or dusty appearance; hearing loss; scared/panicked; woozy; shaken. Their injuries had been made up using hand paints and corn syrup.
Fire personnel had to survey the injured and make decisions on first needs. At the time the first two pumps would have arrived with 10 on board, no ambulance crews were available making decision on triage all the more important.
The fire service would not normally deal with so many “walking wounded”. Among the fire personnel were trained paramedics, available to answer any concerns regarding breathing and pulse rates.
Fire service group manager Tim Edwards was an observer. He said it had been a fantastic opportunity to test their procedures, with mass casualties, some of whom were bandaged by fire personnel, and victims realistically made up.