Extreme weather exercise puts emergency services to the test
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Cheshire’s emergency services came together this week to test their multi-casualty response to a collision in extreme weather.
On the evening of Monday 12 June, Exercise Winter Storm was held at Chill Factore in Manchester and was organised and run by Cheshire Constabulary. They were joined by Cheshire Fire and Rescue, North West Ambulance Service, Cheshire Search And Rescue, and Buxton Mountain Rescue Team, to simulate a single vehicle road traffic collision.
The exercise took place indoors in -2 degrees Celsius snowy conditions. The lighting was off to help simulate the conditions and there were flashing lights and the use of handheld and head torches to create an immersive experience.
Organiser, Sgt Rob Simpson from Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team said:
“The exercise aimed to test how our emergency and voluntary rescue services respond to a serious road traffic collision in challenging snowy conditions at night.
“We know the likes of the Cat and Fiddle, are the first to close due to snow when harsh weather hits us. Conditions can be precarious with the sudden change in the weather making it challenging for emergency services having to rescue those who get into trouble.
“Such immersive experiences are important in helping us understand how to work together in such conditions so that you can rely on us when you really need us.
“Being in the simulated conditions helped us to understand what challenges we face and how to get around them. We certainly came away with a lot of learning which will help us, and you, when winter comes around.”
Station Manager Dave Buckland from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has said:
“Extreme weather can be very challenging and even life threatening.
"Our goal is to work together to reduce harm and save lives. Exercises like this give us an invaluable understanding of other agencies equipment, procedures and capabilities.
"We hope not to have to use these skills, but thanks to all of the hard work from everyone involved, we know we are even better prepared to do so.”