South Yorkshire firefighters tackle chemical spillage as part of training exercise

Firefighters tackle a chemical spill - as part of a training exercise
Firefighters tackle a chemical spill - as part of a training exercise

Dozens of firefighters dealt with a major chemical spill in South Yorkshire in which lives were at risk - all in the name of training.

A team of more than 30 firefighters responded to 999 calls about the spillage as part of a training exercise held on an industrial site in Birley, Sheffield.

Crews practiced their response to chemical spillages in a scenario that included evacuations and multiple casualties.

Partners including Yorkshire Ambulance Service, South Yorkshire Police, the Environment Agency and Public Health England also took part in the exercise.

Station manager Mark Wilkinson, said: “Our firefighters could be asked to respond to a massive range of incidents at any time of the day or night. It’s not just fires we deal with, so it’s important we look at our response to lots of different scenarios.

“Fortunately, chemical incidents as serious as the one we tested our response to are very rare. But it’s important we test all of the plans we have in place to deal with something like this in case the worst does happen.

“Going through plans on paper is one thing, but often the only way of really testing our decision making ability is to re-enact the incident in a live environment. I’m pleased to say our crews came through this particular training exercise with flying colours.”

Firefighters carry out regular training exercises at commercial premises across the county, including high-rise buildings, testing search and rescue procedures, communication and firefighting techniques.

Earlier this year an exercise was carried out at Westminster flats in Intake, Doncaster, where a home was filled with synthetic smoke to simulate the conditions of a real blaze.