Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'In This Incident We Are Simulating a Terrorist Attack, but It Could Quite Easily Be a Natural Disaster like in Japan, New Zealand or Even like the Flooding in Cumbria' Buses Overturned and a Metro Train Buried under Debris as Fire Crews Stage Attack

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'In This Incident We Are Simulating a Terrorist Attack, but It Could Quite Easily Be a Natural Disaster like in Japan, New Zealand or Even like the Flooding in Cumbria' Buses Overturned and a Metro Train Buried under Debris as Fire Crews Stage Attack

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Warburton

FIREFIGHTERS were faced with their worst nightmares at the weekend during an exercise that aimed to reconstruct a terror attack in the North East.

Buses were overturned, a Metro train was buried under debris and a blaze ripped through a workshop as fire crews staged the devastating effects of a co-ordinated terror strike.

In a three-day exercise, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue transformed their Barmston Mere training headquarters in Sunderland into a scene of carnage to simulate a series of explosions.

The operation, codenamed Exercise Genesis, gave emergency services vital training in how to deal with the aftermath of four separate explosions. More than 150 emergency workers have battled around the clock in 10-hour shifts for 52 hours to deal with the scenes of carnage since Friday morning.

The simulated attack included an explosive device hidden in a workshop, two car bombs that damaged a laboratory, an accommodation block and a bus, as well as a suicide bomber on a Metro train.

The detonations resulted in around 80 "casualties", played by volunteers from the Prince's Trust, ranging from the walking wounded to fatalities.

Area manager for community safety John Baines said: "Unfortunately, the threat of major terrorist attacks has become increasingly likely in recent years, so it is important that the emergency services are prepared for the worst.

"This exercise was not only a great test of our team's skills, but also demonstrated the effective working of all the emergency services involved."

He added: "In this incident we are simulating a terrorist attack, but it could quite easily be a natural disaster like in Japan, New Zealand or even like the flooding they had in Cumbria.

"They are the types of scenarios that we rehearse to make sure our crews are prepared for anything. …

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