SOMERSET's emergency services were recently put to the test by the Royal Navy at RNAS Yeovilton, alongside its own emergency response team.

A major crash exercise was held at the airfield near Yeovil on Wednesday, February 21, which saw Avon and Somerset Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the South Western Ambulance Service in attendance.

The simulated exercise involved a commercial fuel bowser that had crashed on the airfield resulting in a major fuel leak.

This was shortly followed by a Commando Merlin Mk4 aircraft suffering severe tail rota failure and crashing into a simulated civilian road with a house, six cars, and a push bike.

Multiple live casualties in various states of injury were involved in the exercised, as well as a lorry jack-knifed on the road, several cars to simulate stopped traffic and training smoke to bring the scenario to life. 

A Command team took up position in the Incident Control Point, to provide essential support to personnel on the ground. 

Fire Station Manager Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Tom Meechan, said: "The presence of role-playing casualties enhanced the authenticity of the scene.

"Injuries suffered ranged from burns and fractures to smoke inhalation, necessitating the evacuation of some individuals using specialised equipment."

Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Robert Strachan added: "The exercise was incredibly valuable and provided an insight in how major incidents play out on the ground in a way that cannot be taught in any other way or any other environment."

First Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander Adam Seaborn, said: "Today’s (Wednesday, February 21) exercise has been an opportunity to test and evaluate not only our response to a major incident at RNAS Yeovilton but to prove our capability in communicating with civilian emergency services, who have been involved in the planning phase for almost a year. 

"Within Major Accident Crash Regulations any major incident requires the co-ordination of multiple activities both at the incident site and in the command centre.

"Being able to do this exercise with the civilian emergency services has made it as realistic as possible, and we will capture the lessons from it."