Essex firefighters called to near ‘real life’ fire at Chesterford Research Park

But it was all pretend – the park had pulled out all the stops to provide a Saffron Walden’s firefighters with the perfect environment to hone their life saving skills in a near ‘real life’ practice situation.

Building 26, occupied by Illumina before they took up residence in a bespoke European headquarters on the park, is in plan to be demolished due to the extensive investment in new state-of-the-art facilities at the park.

However, for this training exercise it was turned into a smoke filled disaster situation.

The building was filled with dense smoke, alarms were ringing throughout and dummies with a variety of injuries were positioned in challenging places.

This provided exactly the hostile environment required – simulating real-life situations – to test the skills of the firefighters in the use of breathing apparatus, radio communications and the rescue of trauma victims.

Assistant divisional officer at Uttlesford and Braintree community command fire station Jon Anderson said: “It is vitally important that firefighters get to take part in realistic training scenarios in order to maintain their operational competence and deliver a first class service to the local community.

“The opportunity that Chesterford has given us by allowing us the use of a disused laboratory has been a valuable contribution to this work and was appreciated by all who took part.

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“We would like to express our sincere thanks for the support Chesterford Research Park has shown to the fire service in helping us stage this realistic training scenario.”

Park manager at Chesterford Research Park Katherine Maguire said: “We were delighted to provide the use of our facilities to enable the Fire Service to carry out these vital training operations.

“Ensuring our park tenants and the wider community continues to benefit from a first class fire service is of course a priority for us and we hope to be the facilitators of more training operations in the future.”

The park is hoping to be facilitators of more ‘training’ operations for the local Saffron Walden fire brigade and other emergency services in the future.