It's the reel deal

PUBLISHED: 12:43 12 October 2007 | UPDATED: 23:06 28 May 2010

A FENLAND house which is due to be demolished provided fire-fighters with the perfect opportunity to practise their house fire rescue skills. The three-bedroom property, complete with a separate hidden annexe, was attended by fire crews from across Fenla

A FENLAND house which is due to be demolished provided fire-fighters with the perfect opportunity to practise their house fire rescue skills.

The three-bedroom property, complete with a separate hidden annexe, was attended by fire crews from across Fenland.

Nicknamed Exercise 'Scotney,' crews were told a fire had broken out and that a number of immigrant workers were inside.

A smoke machine was used to fill the property, in School Road, Manea, with smoke to make the exercise as realistic as possible. Crews had no idea how many casualties they would find, or where they would be located.

"As the casualties were said to be immigrant land workers, fire-fighters were not given any further details as they progressed in the exercise," said a fire service spokesman.

"This represents the worst case scenario where crews are unable to communicate with the casualties they rescue, and cannot find out if anyone else is in the house."

Pete Jones, watch manager at Manea, said: "This was a really tough exercise for the crews, as they had to carry out the rescue with very limited information, due to the absence of English speaking residents.

"They were also in a building which had an unusual layout - as many older homes tend to have - which made it difficult to navigate in the dense smoke."

Crews managed to rescue all six casualties and used their first aid skills to treat one with a cut arm and another who had heart problems.

The house, loaned to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service for the exercise, is being demolished to make way for a four-bedroom house.

Mick Jackman, operations and training support officer, said: "The exercise highlighted areas that we need to improve on, such as their speed in locating the staircase in the annexe building, which didn't follow a traditional design.

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