Dramatic scenes at a disused water tower were all part of an initiative to train the urban search and rescue crew from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
Staged at a South West Water site in Broadclyst, the exercise allowed emergency service workers to carry out line access and casualty extrication in a challenging environment.
The water company says the disused structure is 16 metres tall and was ‘the perfect venue’ for the training.
Crew members faced their first challenge accessing the site. They had to negotiate a ‘very narrow lane’ with all their specialist equipment and then climb up a lengthy raking ladder once at the structure.
South West Water said one scenario involved an unconscious casualty who was suspended in a harness within the tower and needed to be rescued.
A spokesman said: “The tower was dark, restricted and very warm due to being closed up and in the summer sunshine.”
The company’s network and customer service manager, Jason Harvey, said: “Buildings of this nature are few and far between so we were delighted to be able to offer Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service the opportunity to use our site for this training exercise.
“This is a good example of how we work with our strategic partners, particularly in the context of emergency response.”
Watch Manager, Rory Devine from the urban search and rescue crew, said: “We are extremely grateful to have access to this site. It has demonstrated again that collaborative working with all partners can, and will continue to bring benefits to all parties through these opportunities.
“We are always seeking out new training venues and as a service we continue to strive to make new connections, bringing the best outcome to those who we serve in their time of need.”
Broadclyst water tower was built around 1944 and was decommissioned in 1997.