Local firefighters made use of the construction site of the new Harris Academy in Dundee to tackle a number of highly challenging rescue scenarios in a training exercise.
Firefighters from Blackness Road Fire Station and Kingsway East Fire Station undertook a series of functional training exercises under ‘live' conditions in partnership with Robertson.
The exercise was delivered as part of our key strategy to deliver community engagement throughout the geographical regions where we operate.
Arriving at the site, the firefighters were faced with a number of scenarios: a crush injury, a spinal injury at height using an aerial rescue platform and a line rescue from the first and third floors. This included a set-up where two large concrete columns had been laid over a dummy and a rescue that necessitated a firefighter being lowered with the ‘casualty' off the building.
Community engagement is at the heart of our business and this was an opportunity for us to interact with the local community and provide Scottish Fire and Rescue Service with a clearer understanding of our construction site and the environment they would be facing should an incident occur.
The fire and rescue crews, who have been working closely with the Robertson site management team from an early stage of the construction process, have visited the site on two other occasions but this was the first time it had been used as a location for a training exercise.
As well as an initial walk-through detailing the different phases of construction and highlighting potential risks, the local fire and rescue service were also on-site to undertake a thorough risk assessment to identify the best access points and means of escape, as well as any hazardous materials being stored.
Fraser Tennant, crew manager of White Watch, Blackness Road Fire Station, added: "The staff at Robertson were really helpful in getting us set up on-site. We had to work together to understand what processes they would be doing on the day to ensure that their activities could continue on site but that we would also have a clear area to carry out our exercise.
"The feedback from the crews was that it was highly beneficial for them as it gave them an insight into something we don't deal with every day. It also allowed us to work with crews from Kingsway East Fire Station who are trained specifically in line rescues.
"We're always looking for off-station locations to make demonstration exercises as realistic as possible. It was a great opportunity for us to provide an off-station exercise where crews could put their training into action in a safe environment. The whole process has been really helpful for us and it gave the staff at Robertson Construction a chance to see how we operate. It has been a really good experience for everyone involved."
The next major milestone for the Harris Academy site will be the completion of the concrete frame, which is expected to happen by the end of September.
Project manager Mark Dalziel added: "A large part of our work is ongoing community engagement, which involves opening up the site to the local community and local services.
"Most recently, we invited our neighbours to ‘come over the fence' and visit the site. They are the people most directly affected by the build and we wanted to the opportunity to explain the construction timetable to them in more detail.
"We've been on site a little over a year but already we've provided more than 80 weeks of work experience to local students and young people, as well as visits from school pupils and the Chartered Institute of Building's Dundee branch."