Military, firefighters and paramedics team up to test lifesaving skills


 Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) firefighters and Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) teamed up with other agencies to test multi-agency response to challenging scenarios in a three-day exercise hosted at Hicks Gate Fire Station.


Firefighters and USAR teams were joined by Student Paramedics from the University of the West of England, South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and colleagues from the military to take part in the exercise. Over the three days the teams looked at how we can work better together in the event of a devastating incident.


The teams worked together to test responses to an explosion in a block of flats, a building collapse and an explosion causing a road traffic collision involving several cars.


Jon Cowley, Crew Manager at Hicks Gate Fire Station and USAR Assistant Team Leader, said: "This week has been exercise Lion Shield, we've been working in close conjunction with the military, ambulance, fire and USAR. Over the three days we've been working together on various scenarios, with the final scenario based on a road traffic collision involving several vehicles and hazardous materials with our role in USAR is to provide some mitigation for the situation.


"It's been really good to work together with all the agencies here this week, it's important for us to have these training days to create that joint working that we are all striving to achieve - it's been great training for us all."


Jon Newton, Senior Lecturer at UWE and Major Incident Lead, said: "We were invited by Avon Fire & Rescue Service to take part in this three-day event. The incidents involved explosive elements and our team of student paramedics from all three-year groups had a chance to experience a major incident. They were also able to practice initial response principles of triage, treatment, and transport. They've learnt a lot and were able to put theory into practice, work with agencies they wouldn't have ordinarily had a chance to work with and better understand how their role might change at the scene of a major incident."