A collision involving an overturned van, a crumpled car and a large lorry at Teignmouth docks last Thursday looked like a horrific accident. But it was, in fact, the latest rehearsal drill for Teignmouth firefighters.

Firefighters practice extricating a casualty from a van
Firefighters practice extricating a casualty from a van (Devon and Somerset Fire Service)

The multi-vehicle accident, in which several casualties were trapped, was the ideal opportunity for firefighters to practice a co-ordinated rescue with co-responders from Dawlish fire station, staff from ABP Teignmouth and the Devon and Cornwall Police.

Firefighters practice an RTA drill at Teignmouth docks
Firefighters liase with staff from ABP Teignmouth and the police in their latest drill (Devon and Somerset fire service)

In the lifelike scenario firefighters extricated several casualties who were covered in gory make-up to replicate blood. The exercise enabled the incident commander to practice liaising with the different services to rescue the casualties safely while ensuring the scene was preserved for any investigation by police and port security.

‘These types of exercise are invaluable as they help us to hone our skills so we are ready for any incident that we are called to,’ a fire service spokesperson said.

‘We would like to thank ABP Teignmouth for allowing us to train on their site, Devon and Cornwall Police for their attendance and input and for some friends of one of our firefighters who expertly played their roles as casualties,’ they added.

Practice drills help the emergency services hone their skills
Lifelike scenarios help the emergency services hone their skills (Devon and Somerset Fire Service)

Fire crews from around Teignbridge frequently practice different scenarios in their drills. Last month, Bovey Fire Station visited a former care home for a breathing apparatus drill. And earlier this year crews from around Dartmoor descended on a pub in Moretonhampstead for a training exercise.

Teignmouth Fire Station is currently recruiting for on-call firefighters who live or work within five minutes of the station and are available at weekends.