Durham students get an insight into chemical attack

Public Services students at the training centre.
Public Services students at the training centre.
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Students from New College Durham joined the emergency services on a training exercise to re-enact a chemical attack.

Thirty two Public Services students took part in a simulated chlorine bomb scenario at the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service training facility.

Some students were trapped in buildings and others were outside when a green smoke bomb went off, simulating a chemical attack.

The students all had a role to play while the police, ambulance and firefighters responded to the incident.

Zoe O’Brien, 18, from Chester-le-Street, a Level 3 Public Services student who would like to join the navy of fire service, said: “This exercise was really good and has given me an insight into how the emergency services do their training.

“I was trapped in a building with no windows and it was very smokey. I had to be rescued and then taken to a decontamination tent.

“It is much better to be part of it than learn about it in a classroom.”

This was the first in a series of tactical response training exercises that the college has arranged with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue, to give public services students first-hand experience of the emergency services.

Jack Murphy, 16, and is studying on the Level 2 Public Services course, said: “It’s great to see how firefighters perform and how police and ambulance react in certain situations.

“I didn’t realise how much preparation goes into incidents like this. Public Services is a really good course and gives an insight into all the services.”

Jack would like to be a police dog handler or join the RAF when he leaves college.

The state-of-the-art County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service training centre in Bowburn, enables the brigade to train emergency services in realistic conditions and even has purpose-built buildings that can be set on fire.

Michael Pearson, Resilience Manager at the Training Centre, thanked the students for their efforts and for taking part.

He said: “It’s important to have realism in training situations.”

Michael is planning a visit to the college to give the students feedback about the training day.

For more information about public services courses at New College Durham, prospective students can phone 0191 375 4040 or visit www.newcollegedurham.ac.uk.