A multi-agency training exercise took place alongside Bideford Quay on Thursday night to test the readiness of emergency services in dealing with various water rescue and water contamination scenarios in the River Torridge estuary.
The exercises were led and coordinated by Devon and Somerset Fire service with vehicles and personnel deployed from various stations and the RNLI and Coast Guard, Police and Ambulance services, Torridge Council, and the Environment Agency.
The activities started with the rescue and recovery of two swimmers who had entered the water in the shadow of the old bridge. The blue light services were mobilised via the police control room to mirror a real life scenario. This was followed by the recovery of a boat that was reported to have slipped its moorings, recreated by the Councils pilot boat, which in turn mobilised the RNLI lifeboat to recover the drifting vessel. Later scenes involved the containment by Boom of an imagined oil spill and dealing with hazardous materials. The whole event lasted about two hours.
Janet Williams – Torridge Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager said:
“I wanted to thank Ian Donovan and his colleagues from the Fire Service for leading on this event, which all agencies found very useful. While we all hope we never have to use these skills it was a great test of coordinating and working together and helping to improve and sharpen our response plans. A big well done to everyone involved.”