A COLLAPSED three-storey building at Kirklees College tested emergency services to the limit.
All three blue light services were dispatched to Kirklees College block F in Huddersfield yesterday to treat dozens of casualties trapped in the wreckage.
They were presented with a chaotic scenario where three floors had collapsed so the roof was just two feet from the ground.
It was the second time the college facilities, off Portland Street, have been utilised by the emergency services in this way as the building is no longer used by the college.
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In December crews worked round the clock in plummeting temperatures to locate 40 real-life casualties in the largest ever multi-agency rescue across three-days.
In the new exercise, which has been made even more challenging than last time, the college basement has been specially adapted to mimic the conditions of a collapsed building.
All rescue teams, including the rescue dogs, had to enter the building using a line through a single roof window.
The scenario took six months to create during which time a complex series of narrow passages and confined spaces were constructed.
While the structure appears to resemble an intricate maze, it has been built to resemble a series of corridors, bedrooms and communal areas which are barely recognisable due to the extent of the damage.
Volunteers came forward to play casualties and they were located by search and rescue dogs Eddie, Dave and Spencer, who are specially trained to find live casualties.
Station manager Lee Benson, exercise co-ordinator from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Exercise Winter Palace was a real test of our capability and everyone involved rose to the challenge.
“We made the scenario more challenging for yesterday’s test, so the crews will be tested to the limit.
“Exercises like this are essential to ensure the emergency services are trained and ready to respond to real-life situations, so thank you to everyone who has been involved in the planning, and to Kirklees College for allowing us to use their premises again.”
The exercise brought together the region’s Fire Services, Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and police to the test in the event of a real-life emergency.