Firefighters and hospital staff will join forces next week (Tuesday 7 June) as part of an exercise to test rescue and evacuation from a high-rise building during a fire.

Four crews from local fire stations will practise techniques for firefighting and search and rescue at height during the exercise, which will take place on the ninth floor of Yeovil Hospital. Hospital staff will test evacuation procedures for non-mobile patients in the event of a fire high up in the hospital.

The exercise will start at 6.30pm, in order to have minimum disruption on hospital services. It will last for around an hour and a half.

Watch Manager Ian Balfour, who is organising the exercise for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are very grateful to the hospital for allowing us to practise our procedures following the release of new operational guidance nationally.

“Fortunately we very rarely have fires in high-rise buildings and organisations such as the NHS have very stringent fire safety measures in place. But, we have to prepare for the worst and exercises in realistic situations are invaluable for us to plan for the real thing.”

Paul Mears, Chief Executive of Yeovil Hospital, added: “Exercises like this are hugely important, so that we can be absolutely sure that our patients are safe in the event of a fire.

“Most of the activity will be centred around the hospital main reception and on the main staircase, but there will be clear signage alerting people that it is only a test.

“I’d like to thank patients and visitors in advance for their cooperation.”

The exercise will be repeated on Tuesday 5 July at the same time, with different personnel.


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