Emergency exercise at Newark and Sherwood District Council's new HQ

17 January 2017

The construction site for Newark and Sherwood District Council's new headquarters was offered up as the venue for an emergency training exercise for fire crews and building workers.

The council agreed to let Castle House be the location for a mock scenario involving a labourer having suffered a broken leg on the second floor of the building off Great North Road.

The challenge for firefighters from the town’s fire station was to access the 'patient' safely, give emergency treatment and ensure he was moved away from the scene to receive further medical care and assistance.

Martyn Hardy, site manager with RG Carter, the council’s main contractor for the new building, played the role of the 'injured' labourer and, as part of the exercise to test and trial procedures, firefighters decided that, as the condition of the ‘casualty’ was not considered life threatening, they had time to attach a rigged line system from the building’s steelworks to the rescue unit on the ground.

In the rescue procedure Martyn was placed on a stretcher that was attached to the rigged line system, ensuring its stability and strength, and lowered to ground level.

As part of the exercise, the fire crews they were only given limited equipment to use, far less than they would usually carry on the rescue unit in order to assess how they implemented their training to certain aspects.

Council project manager Deborah Johnson said: “We were pleased that the new building could be used to assist Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service in such an exercise. Hopefully there won’t be any situations like this arising but accidents can and do happen on construction sites and this will have helped with preparations in dealing with a real emergency.”

Station Manager Martin Bills, of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “We are really grateful to Newark and Sherwood District Council and RG Carter for offering us the use of the building, and for their assistance during the exercise.

“We often struggle to find premises that are suitable for this kind of training, but this gave us a brilliant opportunity to test our skills and rescue techniques in a very realistic scenario. The fire crews involved benefitted a great deal from it, and it has also helped to strengthen our relationship with the council and with the contractor."

Martyn Hardy, from RG Carter, said: “Safety is the number one priority on any building site and this exercise gave us the opportunity to test our own robust health and safety procedures. We treated it as if it were a real emergency and it has been a very useful exercise for us all to learn from.”

The new offices, which will be modern and cost-effective , will be shared with a number of other public sector partners – to make projected savings of up to £500,000 a year after the council moves out of its current HQ, Kelham Hall later this year.

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