London Fire Brigade

Olympic test for London's firefighters

09 November 2011

London’s firefighters have been testing their emergency response skills in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As part of a series of events taking place before the Games to test the Brigade’s emergency response capabilities, firefighters were called to a mock chemical incident. They used a range of specialist equipment to decontaminate over 100 people supposedly affected by the chemical release. The exercise took place on 8 November at Royal Artillery Barracks,Woolwich, close to the venue of the shooting events next summer.

As well as tackling fires, firefighters are trained to respond to a range of emergency situations. These include collapsed buildings, floodings and road traffic accidents, as well as chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear attacks.

The Brigade is stressing that the exercise was not being carried out in response to any specific intelligence about such an attack but is part of normal preparations for these types of emergencies.

London Fire Brigade’s Head of Operational Resilience Gary Reason said:

“Next summer, the eyes of the world will be on London and the London Fire Brigade is determined to be as ready as we can be to deal with any incidents that may be thrown at us. This exercise is about putting our training to the test and learning how we can be even better.

“Of course, we hope that the sort of chemical attack we will be simulating never happens but it is our job to prepare for these challenges.  London’s firefighters are highly skilled in carrying out this and many other type of emergency response. People can rest assured that come next summer, we will be trained and on hand to help deliver a safe and secure Olympic Games .”

In addition to the exercise at Woolwich there were two simultaneous major exercises in Berkshire and Merseyside. All three exercises are designed to give the fire and rescue service the opportunity to test national co-ordination protocols around managing and deploying shared national resources.