Littlebrook Power Station in Dartford to host "mass casualties" training exercise
PUBLISHED: 09:19 29 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:27 29 February 2016
The station closed last year
A disaster training exercise covering “significant building collapse, involving a train station and resulting in mass casualties” begins today in Dartford.
All of London’s emergency response organisations, both regional and national, will be taking part in the exercise.
It is the largest training exercise undertaken by London Fire Brigade in its 150 year history.
1,000 casualties, thousands of tonnes of rubble, seven tube carriages and hundreds of emergency service responders are all part of the training exercise.
Teams from Italy, Hungary and Cyprus will also be assisting as part of a European Union mechanism meaning emergency responders from the EU can help other member states’ emergency services.
London Fire commissioner Ron Dobson, said: “Exercises of this scale are important to ensure that we are always ready to respond no matter what happens.
“You can’t get this sort of experience from a text book, we need to play it like it’s real and ensure that should the worst happen, our response is effective and well coordinated.
“It’s fitting that this exercise should be part of our 150th celebrations as it shows how we have developed as a Brigade.
“The modern fire service is no longer just about fires, we have a range of skills including carrying out complex rescues from height, detecting hazardous materials and rescuing people from water.
“However, Exercise Unified Response is not just about the rescues; an incident of this size affects everyone from thousands of stranded commuters who can’t get home, to distraught relatives who can’t reach loved ones.
“We are working with TfL, local councils and various voluntary organisations to simulate the wider and longer term impacts that any major disaster would have on the community.
“Although this scenario is not a terrorist attack, we will be practising procedures and systems that are common to any emergency that results in a large number of fatalities and injuries.
“For example, hundreds of people left the 7/7 London bombings without physical injury but found themselves struggling psychologically in the years that followed.
“In this scenario police and local authorities will set up a Humanitarian Assistance Centre which offers information and support.
“The exercise will also be rigorously observed by independent evaluators and any lessons learned will be used to improve the way in which we respond to future emergency incidents.”