Emergency services: Re-enactment used to test skills

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Wounded victims of a freak motor racing crash screamed in agony as paramedics raced to treat their injuries.

Dozens of bodies lay on the ground at Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield, just yards from where a car had left the track at high speed and catapulted over safety fencing to smash into the crowds.

Multi agency disaster situation at Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield where a racing car has crashed into the crowd

Multi agency disaster situation at Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield where a racing car has crashed into the crowd

Cries of ‘he’s dead’ and shouts for help echoed across the scene as blood-soaked casualties trembled with fear.

But, thankfully, the dramatic situation had been entirely staged by hundreds of volunteers to test the disaster plans of emergency services in the city.

The operation was the first one of its size and scale in South Yorkshire involving voluntary organisations such as St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.

Rory Sale, of Ecclesall, was one of 450 Sheffield College students who acted as the injured casualties or survivors on the day.

The 20-year-old, whose face was covered in fake blood from a major head gash, said: “I’m doing a public services course and I’m interested in joining the police.

“So it’s good experience to see behind the scenes, it’s not something you would normally get to do, and it helps them out as well.

“When we came in I had make up done for about half an hour, had some prosthetics to give me a gash on the head then got moved over next to the crash and had to pretend to be injured and call for help.

“At the moment I’m just waiting to be taken to hospital but I’m not sure what will happen.”

Voluntary medics worked with ambulance crews to prioritise the injured for treatment and police helped to escort the walking wounded into safe areas.

Fire crews made the vehicle safe and tackled a blaze which had broken out after the crash.

Action stopped for a few moments when an actor felt unwell, but luckily they were in the right place with dozens of trained workers at the scene.

Russ Parramore, exercise director from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “We’ve staged a major incident, a replica of a sporting event where the vehicle has come off the track and collided with the stadium.

“The vehicle has glided through the crowd that were watching the event, killing, injuring and scaring an awful lot of people before hitting the building and a small fire has followed.

“The aim of today is to test the interopability of all the emergency services and voluntary agencies to make sure everything we have planned works in practice.

“It is a unique opportunity.

“Learning from this exercise will be produced and published nationally.”

The exercise has been planned since December 2012 and students from the college worked on the make-up of casualties.

It was funded with a £5,000 grant from Community Resilience UK after a bid from the South Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum.

Mountain rescue teams, Cruse Bereavement Care, the Royal Voluntary Service and Private Medical Services also took part.