Exercise tests Trust's emergency response

Exercise Ignis

Published on 11 November 2019

An explosion in a boiler room led to a huge emergency response at Kent and Canterbury Hospital on Friday – but thankfully it was all staged as part of a training exercise.

Fire crews set off smoke generators in the basement to trigger the fire alarm, and it spread to two operating theatres above, meaning staff taking part in the exercise had to simulate halting operations and evacuating. They worked with guidance from Kent Fire and Rescue Service crews who helped assess the Trust’s emergency procedures.

At one point, three fire engines were on site as crews wearing breathing apparatus searched the basement and operating theatre areas above for casualties.

Several people were rescued, including one realistic casualty played by a member of the fire service team who was able to give valuable information about the location of the blaze. Other injured people were in fact mannequins, suffering from burns or, in one case, a traumatic amputation of his lower leg.

Emergency planning officer Nick May said: “Exercises like this are vital to ensure we and our partners are prepared for fires or other incidents that may take place at our hospitals.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to test our preparations, and to see what works and what doesn’t.

“We’re grateful to colleagues at Kent Fire and Rescue Service as well as staff within the Trust for their help and cooperation.”