West Norfolk Major Incident exercise

Group shot West Norfolk training May ntk

On the 30th May 2019, months of planning finally came to fruition. The West Norfolk Clinical Field Operations Trainer (CFOT) team, Carl Smith and representatives from the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, planned to simulate a bridge collapse over the M11, with multiple vehicles and casualties involved. It was the biggest training exercise West Norfolk has seen in many years.

It was a true inter-service training exercise, which included staff from the following organisations:

  • EEAST West Norfolk clinical staff and EEAST AOC dispatcher.
  • UEA Paramedic Science students
  • The RAF Co-Responders (Marham)
  • Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
  • Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service. 

The incident involved a vehicle fire, five overturned vehicles and one partially buried vehicle. Each was filled with entrapped casualties with a wide range of time critical and non-time critical injuries, which were managed in casualty collection and clearance stations on site.

Despite there being a vast number of different organisations on scene, both the ambulance and fire and rescue personnel worked tirelessly to affect safe and timely extrications of all the casualties, and the scene was cleared and closed in approximately 90 minutes - a truly awe-inspiring effort from all involved!

There are, of course, lessons to be learnt from this exercise and these will be discussed at a formal debrief with the Fire and Rescue Service in three  weeks time. Meanwhile, the West Norfolk CFOT team want to take the opportunity to thank each member of EEAST staff that attended and to commend them for the hard work they all put in and the care they provided to each patient. The compassion that they exhibited towards their patients, despite being in a scenario, was noted by the CFOT team, as they continually roamed through each sector - it was nothing short of exemplary.

Finally, a commitment to ongoing training is a credit to all EEAST staff, so thank you once again for making this exercise what it was.

For more photos from the day, please visit: https://www.paultibbsphotography.com/incident using password: walpole. 

Photographs taken by David Hirst, West Norfolk paramedic. 

Trigger warning: some staff may find certain photos upsetting, so please view at your own discretion. 

The West Norfolk CFOT team & Carl Smith (part of the clinical team)

Published 4th June 2019

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