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Firefighters catch the eyes by carrying out 'biggest training drill in two decades' at Assington scrapyard



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An elaborate disaster response drill caught the eyes in a Suffolk village this month, in what is believed to be the county’s biggest exercise of its kind in the last 20 years.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service collaborated with scrap dealer Assington Autos to devise a large-scale training scenario, to test firefighters on how they would deal with a multi-car collision.

Fire crews from Sudbury, Hadleigh, Nayland and Colchester tackled a staged incident involving five vehicles at Breakers Yard in Barracks Road, with local volunteers acting as live casualties.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue training exercise at Assington Autos. Contributed picture. (57295771)
Suffolk Fire and Rescue training exercise at Assington Autos. Contributed picture. (57295771)

James Vernon, watch manager at Nayland Fire Station, said: “This scenario included placing some cars upside down and in different positions, representing some of the scenes we face on our roads and providing a sense of realism.

“We planned for the casualties to have different scripted injuries, to present our teams with a whole host of challenges to flex their knowledge, as well as test the incident commander’s ability to take charge at such a complex incident.”

The exercise was also organised to raise awareness of road safety initiatives, and highlighting full-time and on-call job opportunities in the fire service.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue training exercise at Assington Autos. Contributed picture. (57295775)
Suffolk Fire and Rescue training exercise at Assington Autos. Contributed picture. (57295775)

Spectators at the event included the service’s group commander Carolyn Crabb, Assington councillor Jeff Stacey and Babergh District Council leader John Ward, who all praised the crews for their work to keep communities safe.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is continuing to recruit both full-time and on-call firefighters, with more information available here.

Fred Cook, owner of Assington Autos, added: “It was an absolute honour for Assington Autos, to be the venue for Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s biggest drill in the last two decades.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue training exercise at Assington Autos. Contributed picture. (57295777)
Suffolk Fire and Rescue training exercise at Assington Autos. Contributed picture. (57295777)

“I have always had the greatest respect for our fire and rescue service. I was very keen to provide my premises, staff and vehicles without any cost whatsoever to these heroes.

“I’ve told James Vernon that he is welcome to organise further drills at Assington Autos.

“These drills, in my opinion, help to make the public safer, thanks to the professionalism and dedication of our excellent fire and rescue service.”