Major road, major exercise

By August 16, 2017News

We’ve staged a major exercise on one of Birmingham’s busiest roads.

The city’s A38(M) Aston Expressway provided the scene for the late-night scenario, which was made possible by Highways England and included colleagues from the emergency services.

It took place while a section of the road was closed because of on-going repair work at Spaghetti Junction, and involved a staged collision incident involving a lorry, a double-decker bus, a van and four cars.

Watch Commander Andy Wagner, who planned and organised the exercise, said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who helped make the exercise as realistic as possible.

“We aim to get to life-risk emergencies in five minutes or less, and then put in place an assertive, safe and effective plan to resolve the incident. This scenario drew on the wide range of skills and resources that would be needed in such challenging circumstances. It was a great opportunity to test and perfect how several agencies work together.”

Highways England emergency planning officer, Frank Bird, said: “We work closely with the emergency services across the West Midlands and were pleased to be able to help by utilising an existing closure on the road to support their training.”

The incident also posed a challenge to paramedics called to the scene to treat nine ‘casualties’, played by volunteers from our Casualty Simulation Group.

West Midlands Ambulance Service’s hazardous area response team (HART) manager, James Price, said: “The exercise was a great opportunity to test our skills and joint-agency team work at a multi-vehicle collision.

“Exercises like this take place across the West Midlands regularly and are important in testing our ability to deal with large-scale incidents. We’d like to thank Highways England and West Midlands Fire Service for organising it.”

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