London Fire Brigade

Firefighters attending around 12 London crashes a day

13 April 2017

The Brigade has showcased its road traffic collision capabilities as figures show a 10 per cent rise in crashes attended by the Brigade.

Firefighters attended a total of 4,541 road traffic collisions in 2016, up from 4,054 in 2015.

Crews from Battersea white watch took part in the training exercise to simulate a collision between a mini skip lorry, car and cyclist.

In the simulation, a person was trapped in the cab of the lorry, the car's driver was also trapped by the nature of their injuries and 'a cyclist', represented by a training dummy, was trapped beneath the rear wheel of the lorry.

Realistic training to simulate real-world conditions

The realistic training exercise involved a collision between a mini skip lorry, a car and a cyclist.

The injured causalities used in the training exercise were actors from the Casualties Union.

Crews worked alongside students from UCL.

Firefighters used specialist cutting and lifting equipment carried on the Brigade's fire rescue units (FRUs) during the training exercise to replicate the work they would do in a real life scenario.

Crews first worked on freeing the driver trapped in the cab of the lorry and worked in collaboration with London Ambulance Service and students on the University College London (UCL) Pre-Hospital Programme.

The UCL Pre-Hospital Programme is a student led component of the medical curriculum and gives the opportunity for students to experience pre-hospital care medicine.

The students spend time shadowing with London Ambulance Service, attend clinical skills training evenings and monthly academic forums. Events such as the training exercise at Battersea Fire Station encourage inter-professional training, which is not common for medical students.

After stabilising the lorry, releasing the driver and placing him onto a stretcher board, crews then turned their attention to the casualty trapped in the driver's seat of the car which had collided with the lorry.

Firefighters used cutting equipment to remove the roof from the car to allow for the safe removal of the casualty before the casualty was taken into the care of trainee doctors from UCL.

The skip lorry was then raised to free the trapped cyclist who was pronounced dead due to the extent of their injuries.

'Be safer on the capital's roads'

Group Manager for Community Safety Mark Hazelton said: "It is vital that our firefighters regularly carry out training exercises and the more realistic we can make that training the better.

"Equally important is the work we do in the community through promoting road safety messages and our participation in the Safe Drive, Stay Alive programme which teaches people how to be safer on the capital's roads and Biker Down courses which provides riders and passengers with the knowledge they need to help bikers if they're involved in a crash.

"By working in conjunction with London Ambulance Service and medical students, our crews were able to simulate real-world conditions and working as a multi-agency team, exactly as they would at the scene of a road traffic collision."

Crews used a variety of tools to gain access to the casualty who was injured and trapped in the cab of the skip lorry.

Firefighters worked with London Ambulance Service to ensure casualties were safely removed from the vehicles.

To gain access to the injured driver of the car, crews had to cut the roof off this sporty hatchback.

Firefighters cut into certain points to remove the roof.

The realistic training helps ensure our firefighters know what to do in a real emergency.

New statistics released by the Brigade show that firefighters have attended 1,061 road traffic collisions in the capital so far this year.

In 84 of these incidents, crews have had to carry our extrications, which means cutting open a car to safely remove a passenger.

To help reduce the number of road traffic collisions in London, the Brigade is a key partner in schemes like Safe Drive Stay Alive in boroughs with high numbers of crashes, to educate young drivers about the dangers of careless driving.

At the sessions, firefighters also relay their harrowing experiences of dealing with tragic incidents.

Firefighters had to raise the skip lorry to free a trapped 'cyclist', which was represented by a training dummy.

The casualties were played by actors to add to the realism of the training exercise.

The Brigade, with help from Lambeth council, runs the free, nationally recognised Biker Down road safety training in London, designed to make bikers safer.