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Musgrove joins up with fire service to test major incident plans - 13 April 2015

Musgrove joins up with fire service to test major incident plans - 13 April 2015
Patients, visitors and the public are being warned about the planned exercise, which will start at 7pm on Thursday, 16 April, in advance so as to avoid alarm amongst the community and calls to emergency services because of the test.

The aim of the exercise is to test Musgrove’s emergency planning procedures and ability to work with the Fire and Rescue Service and the South West Ambulance Service in dealing with a major site emergency.

The primary area to be used will be  the cordoned off area outside the main entrance to the hospital’s new Jubilee Building, on the Wellington Road entrance to the hospital site. Five fire appliances with crews and ancillary equipment will be deployed. An additional fire appliance will be on standby providing operational cover for Taunton.

The test scenario is that at around 7pm on Thursday, 16 April, a fire incident will develop from the roof of old ward 1 (this area is now unused as a result of the opening of the Jubilee Building in March 2014) as a consequence of contractor works. This will result in an asbestos related fire incident involving evacuation of patients and staff.

Deputy Chief Executive Peter Lewis said: “We regularly carry out major incident scenarios to ensure that we have robust plans in place, along with our other emergency service colleagues, so that we can be confident in our abilities to handle such an incident. 

“We normally carry them out with minimal disruption to services, or awareness by the public, however, given the scale of the scenario testing being planned we want to ensure patients, visitors and the public are aware so that we do not cause alarm.

“By planning for, and testing, a range of incident scenarios we ensure that our staff, and those of our partner organisations, are able to work well together in response to any real-life incident.  This testing was shown to have real benefit in the multi-agency response that was seen to the multi car collision on the M5 motorway near Taunton in 2011.”

To make the exercise as realistic as possible hospital staff are being asked to volunteer for patient and nursing roles, a life size dummy will be used along with theatrical smoke and water spray jets.

Following the test a full debriefing will be held with all agencies involved to feed back areas of good practice and lessons learned.