Exercise Avonmouth

1st June, 2011

A major exercise to test emergency resilience saw representatives from 16 fire and rescue services visiting Avon this weekend.

More than 120 firefighters from as far afield as Northern Ireland and Merseyside joined colleagues from Avon Fire & Rescue Service in three large scale exercises. In scenarios taking place at Avonmouth Docks and Chew Valley Lake crews put 13 High Volume Pumps (HVPs) through their paces.

During the weekend the 13 pumps were used in three exercises. The first took place at Esso Holesmouth, Avonmouth, and was designed to rehearse emergency plans in the event of a major fire at the site. The HVPs were used to move dock water more than two kilometers where, in a real incident they would then be mixed with foam to tackle a fire.

A second exercise, which also took place on Saturday at Avonmouth, saw six HVPs pumping water from the docks for more than four kilometres.

A third scenario at Chew Valley Lake demonstrated the pumping ability of two HVPs in a scenario based around the failure of the reservoir’s banks. Although the exercise saw water pumped from the lake, it was then released back into the reservoir at a second point 2.3 kilometres away.

In this exercise Shropshire with Essex were involved with crews from Prees, Craven Arms and Clun. The incident commander was SM Shaun Baker; the Subject Matter Adviser was Mac Harris. The crew attending from Prees was Alan Smith, Paul Cheshire, Andy Pritchard and Matt Page; from Craven Arms and Clun there was Andy Williams, Ian Dudley, Darren Nicholson and Scott Marnick.

The exercise was a huge success and gave our crews a chance to respond to a national incident and work along side crews from other fire and rescue services. All the exercises we have set up are worst case scenarios, designed to test fire and rescue crews to the highest level.

This was a unique opportunity to bring together firefighters and equipment from all over the country to understand how we would all work together in the event of a major incident. The High Volume Pumps are exceptional pieces of equipment that can be used to quickly remove huge volumes of flood water or deliver large quantities of water on to a major fire.

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