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Fire crews on site at Shotton surface mine

Fire crew

Banks Mining site hosts industrial emergency training exercise for Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service

CREWS from Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service have been on site at the biggest surface mine in the North East for a training exercise designed to help them prepare for managing industrial emergencies.

The Service has been working with Banks Mining to simulate a range of realistic training scenarios at Shotton surface mine, near Cramlington, that it might come across in real life.

Procedures for managing fuel spillages, vehicle collisions and emergency medical evacuations were carried out during the exercise, with retained fire personnel joining their regular colleagues during the exercise and members of the Banks team also playing a full part.

Formal holding areas were established to provide a focal point for the management of each situation, while breathing apparatus was also deployed.

David Percival, watch manager at West Hartford Community Fire Station, who organized the training exercise, said: ‘We look to work with a range of north-east businesses and organizations to both help share our knowledge and refine our responses to situations in industrial and workplace locations that we might one day have to face for real.

‘The size and physical layout of the Shotton site and the scale of the plant equipment that’s used there provides us with a unique environment in which we can test the resilience of our systems, our planning and our crews, and the exercise provided a lot of valuable learning experiences for both ourselves and the Banks team.

‘The Shotton team works to a very professional standard, which helped make the logistics of the operation straightforward and allowed us to easily share a great deal of useful information before, during and after the exercise.’

Neil Cook, manager at Shotton surface mine, added: ‘Working as we do in an industry where managed risk is part of everyday operations, safety is always our absolute priority, and we invest significant amounts of time, money and resources to ensure our workforce has the skills and knowledge required to minimize or negate any potential operational or personal risks.

‘Banks Mining have an exemplary safety record, but we can never be complacent, and the insight and knowledge shared by the Fire & Rescue Service teams will help us further refine the detailed safety plans and provisions we have in place.’

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