St John Ambulance takes part in a major European disaster training exercise in London

London, United Kingdom, 03. March 2016

Simulation of a destroyed metro station

Pictures by St John Ambulance England

From 29 February to 3 March, St John Ambulance England took part in a four-day-long exercise aimed at reinforcing civil protection teams' preparedness for disasters. 'Exercise Unified Response' – as it was named – is the largest ever disaster training exercise in the 150-year-long history of the London Fire Brigade. It is also one of the biggest and most complex exercises ever organised with the support from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The purpose of the operation was to test the coordinated response of more than 70 agencies in the event of a major disaster involving a high number of casualties.

The operation took place near Dartford river crossing where a realistic environment was created to simulate a major search and rescue accident. A destroyed metro station was created with platforms, carriages, rubble, as well as fake dead bodies and volunteer ‘casualties’ with lifelike injuries, such as burns and severed limbs. The exercise included over 1,000 casualties and hundreds of emergency service responders. Firefighters, police officers and ambulance personnel from across London participated in. Alongside emergency services, local councils, utility companies, specialist search and rescue teams were also mobilised. Teams from Cyprus, Hungary and Italy, as well as an EU civil protection team with experts from different participating states, assisted in the rescue operations.

Whilst not directly participating in providing responders to the exercise, St John Ambulance supported the London Ambulance Service with a small logistics team, equipment vehicles and a communications unit.



Team of St John Ambulance

Pictures by St John Ambulance England