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Kent's emergency services take part in train derailment exercise in Eythorne

By Emily Stott

Kent's emergency services were put to the test in a large-scale train derailment simulation.

The Night Train Exercise set up the scenario of a car striking a train at a level crossing, causing it to derail.

The exercise in Eythorne last night at the East Kent Railway station brought together emergency teams including Kent Fire and Rescue Service, ambulance crews and the British Red Cross.

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Passengers guided off the train
Passengers guided off the train

Russ Jordan, incident commander for KFRS said before the exercise: "Our first incident commander will be looking at safety first and then doing some real quick work around triage for when SECAmb arrives, so that's prioritising our casualties.

"Then within the first few minutes still that incident commander needs to be thinking about what resources he needs here and that was done tonight."

There were ten fire engines and around 40 firefighters, including some specialists in heavy lifting and stablisation. There was also a drone searching for lost casualties.

Afterwards, Mr Jordan said: "These things do happen, not very often but that's why we need to train for if they do.

"I'm happy with the way everyone's worked. There's a few things we will identify like we always do with an exercise to improve upon but I think we've worked well with our partner agencies and I'm happy that everything has gone as well as can be expected.

The lifelike re-enactment from volunteers posing as casualties with broken bones and blood streaming down their faces also added a challenge to the paramedics on the scene.

There were around 30 'walking wounded' and six dummies which also played the part of casualties.

VIDEO: Emergency services put to the test

One of the walking wounded was Derek Carter, a volunteer from Herne Bay.

He said: "I was on one of the carriages on the train. I was lucky enough to be a walking wounded rather than somebody who was seriously injured.

"I tried to take the role of someone who was trying to assess the situation to give information to the emergency services who were responding to people who were injured.

"It actually makes you think if I was involved in this what do I need to do to try and keep people calm and help other people, and that's what I did."

Derek Carter, volunteer posing as casualty
Derek Carter, volunteer posing as casualty

Specialist equipment - from cutters to take off the roof of the car to save trapped casualties, to stretchers that run along the tracks - were all used by the emergency services in an effort to give them a lifelike simulation of what a large scale incident like this would involve.

Jon Gater, training manager for the British Red Cross, said: "Our crews are a mixture of volunteers and staff and to see people who do this in their spare time on top of a day job to be able to deal with an incident like this and cope with it, and cope with it well, is a really fantastic sight.

"I'm really pleased, proud and impressed with how well they have worked with all the services here."

The East Kent Railway is a heritage attraction in the countryside with restored trains running most Sunday's throughout the year.

For more information see www.eastkentrailway.co.uk

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