Havering firefighters conduct major emergency training exercise in Rainham

PUBLISHED: 15:33 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:33 13 March 2018

The multi-agency emergency services exercise to deal with a tower block fire at Napier House in Rainham

The multi-agency emergency services exercise to deal with a tower block fire at Napier House in Rainham


Up to 80 Havering firefighters and eight fire engines ran an emergency training exercise in Rainham last week, along with ambulance and police support.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB), London Ambulance Service (LAS) and Met Police were all involved in the second drill this month, on Friday, March 9.

Firefighters responded to a staged 999 call about a tower block fire at Napier House, Dunedin Road, with the number of trapped civilians and size of fire kept secret from firefighters, simulating a real-life scenario.

After eight fire engines arrived, police set up a safety cordon, with ambulance crews waiting to treat civilian casualties.

A hydraulic platform was deployed by the LFB to rescue a woman from her sixth floor balcony, but the Command Unit changed the scheduled plan, making the situation as realistic as possible.

Bronze Commander Ali Green, operations commander for the LAS Hart (hazardous area response team), said: “It’s a chance for some really good collaborative work between service departments and to exercise amongst colleagues.”

LFB spokesman James Chapman said the exercise was part of normal scheduled fire training, “demonstrating close liaison between the three departments”.

Twelve fire engines were planned to be called from Hornchurch Fire Station, but only eight were deployed after the Command Unit made an assessment about an accurate response to the simulated fire upon arrival.

Mr Chapman said: ‘The normal response time for fire crews is around eight minutes, but this depends on traffic and weather.”

Residents were told of the drill by leaflet and signposting, and Havering Council members provided support to residents and passers-by.

Some officers who participated on the drill were under assessment.

Firefighter Steve Smith said: “We’re here to practise our high-rise procedure in real time using local resources.”

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster last June, the LFB issued new advice to residents: “If there is a fire or smoke inside your flat or maisonette and your escape route is NOT clear, it may be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire brigade arrives.”

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