Humberside Fire and Rescue Service have been carrying out exercises at Albion House in Grimsby over recent days to test their emergency response to high rise fires. Crews from across the Humberside region took part in order to share best practice and ensure that staff are best prepared for the complexities of high rise incidents in Scunthorpe, Hull or Bridlington.
The tower blocks on the East Marsh Estate in Grimsby were built in the early 1960s, but are now empty and will be demolished in 2018. Building owners Shoreline kindly allowed the Fire Service to use the 16 storey blocks to carry out credible, realistic simulated incidents over three nights.
Exercise ‘Up In Smoke’ simulated a large fire on the 13th floor of Albion House where a group of young people were having a party. The caretaker is on the scene, but the fire is spreading. The Fire Service were called via 999 to ensure that the mobilisation from Control was realistic and timely.
HFRS Safety Officers and Shoreline’s caretaker were in place throughout the exercise, monitoring the health, safety and wellbeing of all participants and invited media.
A hot debrief for all participants was conducted following the exercise. Learning outcomes will contribute to updating of risk plans (if necessary) and Standard Operating Procedures to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of any future high rise emergency response.
Watch Manager of Emergency Response South Martin Wade has organised the three sessions and is keen to point out their importance:
“Whilst we can plan responses to this kind of incident in a training room, there is nothing like the real thing. Testing our ability to reach these floors quickly and effectively wearing full breathing apparatus is paramount to all of our front line staff and we are grateful to Shoreline for allowing us to use Albion House.”
Shoreline Project Manager Rachel Munoz was pleased to assist in the exercise:
“Shoreline works closely with Humberside Fire and Rescue Service to make sure we adhere to high standards of fire management and promote the importance of fire safety to our residents. We are more than happy to enable their safety officers to use our unoccupied high-rise blocks to create a realistic training environment.”