Specialist make-up skills used to simulate catastrophe

The largest ever disaster training exercise in the 150 year history of the London Fire Brigade took place during the first week in March with firefighters, police officers and ambulance personnel from across London in a four day scenario based around a building collapsing onto a tube station in the capital.

In order to create the most realistic environment possible, an entire tube station has been recreated and then ‘crushed’ in a disused power station close to the Dartford river crossing.

Image a media make up student

Image a media make up student

Through a budding relationship between Rotherham College and the NHS, Staff and students from the college have been invited to participate in the training event. Using techniques and skills that have been developed over the past couple of years, staff and students are able to recreate some of the most serious looking injuries that can be imagined.

With over 1,000 casualties to prepare, the media make-up staff and students, from the only Further Education College invited to the occasion to support the professional effects company, along with other volunteers from other organisations, were kept very busy and their skills are were tested to the limit, as they created injuries which were assessed by medical professionals before they are allowed to enter the scene.

Forty media make-up students embarked on the journey down to London, who are studying Levels 2, 3 and Higher Education accompanied by staff from the department. The students studying at Higher National Certificate and Diploma level were the ones who managed the more junior level students through the process.

Exercise Unified Response (EUR) has been over a year in the planning. It involves a wide range of organisations that are involved in disaster response, such as a number of London local authorities and Transport for London. London’s Air Ambulance will also be taking part.

Not only will the exercise provide a realistic training environment for specialist Urban Search and Rescue teams from across the UK but the scale of the incident also gives a chance for specialist teams from the police, ambulance service and local authorities to practise skills and functions that are thankfully rarely used. Teams will also be working alongside firefighters from Italy, Hungary and Cyprus who will also be mobilised to the incident.

Image a media make up student

Image a media make up student

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said:

“Exercises of this scale are important to ensure that we are always ready to respond no matter what happens. You can’t get this sort of experience from a text book, we need to play it like it’s real and ensure that should the worst happen, our response is effective and well-coordinated.”

If you would like more information about the Media Make-up courses and Rotherham College please call 01709 722777 or visit www.rotherham.ac.uk

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