Firefighters keep it real for simulation

Swindon Advertiser: Westlea and Stratton fire crews demonstrate a series of rescue scenarios Westlea and Stratton fire crews demonstrate a series of rescue scenarios

AS I LAY on the roof of the upside-down car, I could hear how hard the fire crews were working to get me out.

I was part of a reconstruction of an accident that happened on the A419 at Thamesdown Drive about two weeks ago, where a car landed in the same position I was in.

Crews from Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service cut through metal and smashed several windows before rolling me on to a stretcher and lifting me out through the boot as part of the exercise.

The event, which was part of a week of action for the Swindon Christmas Safety Campaign, was held at Westlea Fire Station yesterday to urge drivers to be careful on the roads over the festive season.

I was the driver of a car that had landed on its roof after a collision. A second vehicle was added to the exercise which saw councillor Cindy Matthews (Lab, Lydiard and Freshbrook) being rescued too.

I was lying in the upside-down car alone, but was soon approached by firefighter Richard Callaway, who was my casualty carer and stayed with me throughout the experience.

At every stage he explained what was happening, including when glass was going to be broken, when they were cutting through metal and why I could hear banging or feel any movement in the car.

I was lying there for about half an hour while the side of the car was removed, and eventually the boot was taken off so they could carry me out without moving my back.

The crews worked tirelessly and I could hear the teamwork going on around me.

Tim Elliott, watch manager at Westlea, said: “This was a replica of a road traffic collison attended on the A419 two weeks ago. The driver didn’t have a seatbelt on when we got there. The best route for the casualty was out through the boot.”

A fire engine and the fire safety display will be at the Orbital shopping centre today from 10am-1pm.

Graham Weller, partnership and community engagement manager, said: “We want everyone to have a brilliant Christmas but we don’t want to have to cut anyone out of any cars, we don’t want to be doing this for real. Young people will be returning from university and they are not regular drivers. People will be driving back from Christmas parties and it will be icy on the roads. We just want everyone to be wary.”

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