Traffic disaster tests 999 crews

The RTC Exercise at MOD Donnington

A large scale traffic pile up on a county road put Shropshire's emergency services to the test during a major training exercise involving up to 50 firefighters, police and ambulance personnel.

The multiple vehicle collision acted out on a stretch of road at the Ministry of Defence base in Donnington, Telford was the first time that all three crews were able to get together to practice their skills and test their joint response at such a large crash scene.

A total of five cars, an HGV and a motorcycle were involved in the drama with wreckage strewn across a 150ft stretch of highway inside the 400 acre MOD site. St John's Ambulance volunteers played the crash victims which included a teenage drink driver and three youths in one car and an upside down grey Peugeot on top of a car containing a family with a baby.

A motorcyclist lay injured in the road while another driver, who had been using a mobile phone, had embedded his vehicle into the back of the large truck.

Five fire engines and four ambulances arrived at the scene to cope with the dead, injured and trapped motorists and passengers. More than 30 firefighters from MOD Donnington, Newport, Hodnet, Much Wenlock and Wellington were at the scene working alongside 10 ambulance crew from Donnington with officers from Telford police.

Firefighters removed windscreens and car roofs working together with paramedics to stabilise the injured.

Incident Commander Mark Donnelly said the exercise had been very well organised and everyone had worked well together. Organiser Glen Holloway, of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said that it was a "rare" opportunity for all three emergency services to get together to practice their skills.

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West, who was rescued from one of the cars, thanked all the volunteers for taking part and Wrekin Motor Spares for providing the crash vehicles.

During the practice, control rooms at each emergency service and incident commanders were monitored as they dealt with the unfolding crisis.

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor said: "It has been a very worthwhile exercise and we have all learned from it. This is invaluable training for all the services."

4th July, 2008