Community Voice Health

60 fire-fighters attend evacuation drill at Harefield Hospital PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 26 May 2009 18:55
The following account from, Joanna Parish, Head of Media Relations

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust.Harefield Hospital tested its readiness for dealing with a major emergency in a large scale simulation on 20 May. Staff from the hospital were joined by colleagues from the London Fire Brigade, the Metropolitan Police, Hillingdon Hospital, Primary Care Trust and Borough Council, the Health Protection Agency, London SHA and other agencies to test readiness for a fire in the hospital.

The simulation represented the largest multi-agency exercise at Harefield in two decades, and one of the largest in London for some years. It was timed to take place after £3 million worth of improvements had been made to the hospital’s infrastructure. All NHS Trusts are expected to carry out similar exercises every three years.

Soon after midday the fire alarm was sounded and volunteer staff acting in the role of patients were evacuated from wards and moved to safe areas in the hospital. In total 30 ‘patients’ were moved to safety in the mock evacuation. A total of 13 fire appliances and 60 firefighters arrived at the scene. The exercise was structured so that staff were informed of fresh events in real time, simulating the effects of unexpected developments in a real emergency.

Commenting on the exercise, Patrick Mitchell, director of operations at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust, said: “Carrying out such a large multi-agency exercise was a major undertaking and required a great deal of planning and co-ordination. The conclusion from all those involved was that it was an extremely worthwhile project, not just for the Trust but for all our partners. We will be sharing the learning from the event with a much wider audience within the NHS and beyond.”

John Doherty, spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade added, “The exercise was an enormous success from the London Fire Brigade’s perspective. It enabled us to put into practice our command and control procedures for major incidents and of course reinforce our links with the Trust’s management team. The most important outcome from the exercise was that all agencies involved worked together to achieve a
successful outcome, that of ensuring the safety and well-being of all ‘patients’.
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Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 21:33