Firefighters descend on Cotswold Airport to test response to aircraft collisions

Firefighters from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) joined colleagues from across the country to take part in a 36-hour training exercise to practise how they would respond to a major plane crash.

Firefighters from Avon, Hampshire, Devon & Somerset, Hereford & Worcester and Wales planned and facilitated the exercise for colleagues from London, Kent and Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Services as well as Cotswold Airport, where the exercise was hosted.

Local ambulance and police colleagues were also supported in the training exercise to ensure emergency services work together effectively in the event of a real major incident.

The exercise – organised thanks to Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International – aimed to replicate a number of scenarios involving multiple aircraft colliding with one another as well as cars, minibuses and casualties to allow realistic training scenarios for some of the country’s specialist Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) teams to test their skills and learn from one another.

Student paramedics from the University of the West of England and actors from NiMSKi Ltd were also involved in the exercise, playing the part of casualties to provide realism for those involved in the training.

The aircraft used in the scenario belongs to Air Salvage International, based at Cotswold Airport, which decommissions and strips the jets of their parts for recycling.

Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer, said: “This training scenario has provided an exciting and unique opportunity for Urban Search and Rescue, firefighters, paramedics, police and facilitators to testing out their reaction to a major incident involving aircraft.

“We hope we will never be called to such a devastating collision, but we always train hard to ensure that in the event of the worst-case scenario, we are prepared.”

Cllr Dave Norman, the cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I would like to thank all the fire crews for taking part in this invaluable exercise, as well as Cotswold Airport and Air Salvage International for their support in putting it on.

“It’s a good example of how the emergency services work closely together to ensure we are ready to respond to any major incident.”

Scroll to Top