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Exercise time for Culdrose firefighters

By West Briton  |  Posted: October 16, 2012

  • A two-man breathing apparatus team from the Royal Navy prepares to attack a fire that has reignited next to the aircraft.

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A SEA King helicopter crashed at RNAS Culdrose with two people aboard.

The resultant fire spread to an adjacent accommodation block at the base, where 14 people were reported missing ... .

Fortunately this was merely an exercise to put the base's firefighters through their paces alongside civilian crews.

Joining the crew of six Royal Navy firefighters, were crews from neighbouring local authority stations, including Helston and Mullion.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "These exercises are designed to allow the crews to work together in responding to a previously unknown scenario, as it would be in real life, so very few details had been shared with the crews taking part."

The exercise supposed that an 854 squadron Sea King helicopter had crashed with two people aboard.

The first Royal Navy fire truck crew – Crash 1 – arrived and started to spray foam on the burning helicopter to reduce the flames.

Petty officer Pej Nikoufekr, the incident commander, assessed the situation and found the accommodation block next to the crash site was also on fire, with 14 people reported missing.

The exercise involved response times and the use of breathing equipment, as well as search techniques for missing people.

With ongoing replacement of the teams, 24 firefighters were involved who were then supported by further firefighters managing water supplies, breathing equipment control, ongoing risk assessment and incident command.

The teams came together for a post exercise debrief, sharing lessons to make sure everything can go smoothly if this type of incident should happen for real.

Lieutenant Maxine Burgess, RNAS Culdrose fire station officer, said: "These exercises are a really important part of our training, not only in responding to major incidents on the airfield but also in being able to work effectively alongside our colleagues in the local authority fire services to respond to them.

"It's also a great opportunity to do this so we can understand more about our ways of working and each other strengths should this type of incident ever happen for real."

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