FIREFIGHTERS from six stations including Barton and Swadlincote descended on Burton’s Queen’s Hospital to battle their way through a smoke-logged basement to prepare themselves for real-life emergencies.
Crews were forced to use special equipment to navigate their way through the darkness to find ‘casualties’.
Andy Oakley, a station manager with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Training is a vitally important part of the role of a firefighter to maintain competence and operational preparedness.
“Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service regularly takes part in training simulations and this particular exercise is designed to provide the opportunity for firefighters to practice their skills and ability in searching in simulated smoke-filled basement chambers to locate and extinguish a fire, and to search in confined corridors for individuals who have been reported as missing at the time of the fire.
“The firefighters used breathing apparatus sets and specialist guide lines to help them search for the missing casualties.
“These lines are also used by fire crews to assist them in finding their way out of the complex basement chambers without becoming disorientated and getting lost.”
The firefighters worked in complete darkness to simulate the zero visibility conditions that a real fire situation would pose due to dense smoke.
Mr Oakley added: “Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to thank Burton’s Queen’s Hospital for allowing this important training activity to take place.
“This opportunity provides crews with the ability to work in unfamiliar surroundings, providing a more challenging environment in which crews can learn and further develop their skills.
“The fire service would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that it is vitally important that they have working smoke alarms in their homes – if you would like a free home fire risk check please call 0800 0241 999.”
The crews taking part were from Barton, Abbots Bromley, Swadlincote, Uttoxeter, Tutbury and Burton.