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Emergency responders test skills on Slough skyline

The changing landscape in the key commuter town of Slough provided a dramatic setting for three emergency services to train together.

Months of planning resulted in a challenging exercise for fire crews and ambulance service colleagues to rescue a pseudo casualty from the top of a crane at a development of apartments on Windsor Road.

Firefighters from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) joined with counterparts from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service as well as South Central Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) colleagues for the training on Wednesday 15 March.

Watch Manager Mike Jeeves, of Langley Fire Station’s Red Watch, organised the training on Shanly’s Trinity construction site and started planning for the day-long session in December 2016.

Mike said: “The day has been quite a success and our main objectives were achieved, enabling a greater understanding of each other’s individual capabilities and limitations.

“Having planned the exercise, I had an idea that it might highlight differences in equipment and the different capabilities, but it was for the crews to go up there and find that out, as that is what the scenario was designed to test.

“Procedural differences were identified too and this is the second time that a procedural difference has been highlighted through this type of training and better prepares our crews to deal with local emergencies.

“As Shanly is such a significant developer in the area, it’s good for the community to see how they are working closely with the public services in the area.

“Forging new links between us will, hopefully, help them have better understanding of what we do and what they can do to assist us in the event of an emergency, which should lead to the best and safest practices by everyone.”

The exercise included crews from all three services working together at Langley Fire Station during the morning to gain an understanding of each other’s equipment and skills in a workshop setting.

In the afternoon, all the teams moved to the Windsor Road site for training – made available to RBFRS by Shanly Group, who are building apartments there.

The challenges of organising training for firefighters were evident during the day with each of the three crews involved (Langley, Slough and Buckinghamshire FRS’ Gerard’s Cross) being called out to incidents at different times.

Stewart Kirk, Managing Director at Shanly Homes (Thames Valley), said: “Located at the gateway to Slough and an important part of the town’s regeneration, it seemed only fitting that Trinity would be at the heart of the action for this impressive exercise.

“We were delighted to be able to assist RBFRS with their rescue training which is crucial to the safety of our employees and indeed the wider community.

“We were really lucky with the weather, which helped showcase the progress we are making here on site as we work towards having Trinity’s first residents move in this autumn.”

A range of images from the training will be available on the RBFRS Facebook page.