Scene of utter devastation as people crushed under rubble in disaster simulation

IT was a scene of utter devastation with people crushed under rubble after a landslide.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 11:38 am
Brokenhurst college student, Ethan Kettle posing as a 'victim' waiting to be rescued in a simulated landslide at Fort Widley. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Fortunately it was not real life but the world's largest international disaster simulation that has been in Portsmouth this week.

More than 2,000 people and 40 local, national and international emergency response organisations, have been taking part in the drill to test out emergency services and support staff.

This year’s disaster scenario had the fall-out from a hurricane that resulted in severe flooding, mudslides, collapsed buildings and displaced people.

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Rescue operators helping 'victims' at a staged landslide at Fort Widley, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The realistic setting at Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill, saw crumpled cars, damaged buildings and screaming casualties with severe injuries who needed saving. It was one of eight disaster scenes across Hampshire.

Phil Crook, of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, who directed it, said: ‘Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is among the best services in the country and our crews are regularly called upon to help in the aftermath of international disasters.

‘Exercises like this are vital in developing and maintaining skills and getting valuable experience working alongside partners.

‘These scenarios create a sense of realism you just can’t get on the drill yard or classroom and enable us to save more lives when disasters strike.’

Students from Brockenhurst college posing as 'victims' in a staged landslide at Fort Widley. Picture: Habibur Rahman

SIMEX is run by the University of Portsmouth, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the University of Liverpool until Thursday.

Andy McCheyne, of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, who attends international emergency scenes, said: ‘It’s a brilliant experience especially for those who have not done it before. The role play and witnessing how things happen in a life real situation is so important.’

Tim Marsh, another member of of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service who attends disaster scenes around the work at the drop of a hat, added: ‘It’s both exhilarating and humbling to go to these scenes. It puts it all into perspective. Once saw saw an old man sitting by some rubble where his house used tobe with all his family underneath dead.’

Ethan Kettle, a public services student of Brockenhurst College in the New Forest, said: ‘It’s really good fun and good to learn about what happens in these situations. It’s very realistic.’

Nursing student, Debbie Anton posing as a victim of a landslide. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Danni Doran, lecturer of public services at Brockenhurst College, added: ‘There’s nothing more realistic than doing an exercise like this, apart from doping the real thing. This gives them a great insight.’

Anna Fraine posing as a 'victim' in a staged landslide at Fort Widley. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Students from Brockenhurst college posing as 'victims' in a staged landslide at Fort Widley. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Nursing students posing as 'victims' in a potential landslide at Fort Widley. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Rescue operators helping 'victims' at a staged landslide at Fort Widley, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Nursing student at the simulated landslide at Fort Widley. Picture: Habibur Rahman