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No cause for alarm at Hutton Close

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service rushed to deal with reports of two people trapped in a burning building, in Shaw, on Monday morning (18 June).

Fortunately, these reports were not real. It was part of a series of scenarios set up as a training exercise.

Sovereign Housing Association, which is about to redevelop Hutton Close, made the empty properties available for the fire service before demolition begins at the beginning of August.

Their scenario-based training involved using breathing apparatus to carry out rescues from the property, gaining access with ladders and supplying water from the appliance pumps.

Sovereign’s Health and Safety Manager, Gareth Butler, said: “We’re pleased we’ve been able to support the fire and rescue service with this unique training opportunity which gives them the chance to practice real life scenarios, and hope we can offer similar opportunities in future.

“We and our residents often benefit from the life-saving support the fire service provides and we continue to work closely with local fire and rescue services to ensure the upmost safety for our residents in our homes.”

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager, Stephen Leonard said: “With property fires being one of the types of incidents we attend, it’s important that we train in lifelike scenarios. Working with Sovereign has helped to develop our training and ensure that we are able to protect residents and their homes when a fire starts.

“It’s important that residents have suitable safety measures in their homes to ensure that they are alerted to a fire should they have one. Information on how and where to fit smoke alarms can be found on our website”

Sovereign has made other empty buildings available to the fire service in the past with similar training exercises carried out pre-redevelopment at Castle View in Speen and at Crown Court in Thatcham.

In partnership with David Wilson Homes, work is set to start in August at Hutton Close to build for 80 new homes, including outright sale, shared ownership and social rent. All of its former residents have successfully been rehoused by Sovereign elsewhere in the town and local area.