Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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High-rise training exercise in Kirkby

High-rise training exercise in Kirkby


Thursday, 16 January 2020

A Kirkby tower block will host the first of a series of training exercises this weekend as Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS)leads an exercise to test their response to a fire in a high rise building.

Gaywood Green, in Kirkby will be the scene for the initial exercise, which will involve 4 fire engines and a team of firefighters.

The exercise will take place on Sunday 19th January between 10.30am and 1.00pm and will simulate a fire on an upper floor of one of four empty tower blocks at the location. There will be a small amount of cosmetic smoke similar to dry ice for realism, but no fire effects. Knowsley Housing Trust has offered Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service the location for training purposes, consisting of 256 flats across four high rise blocks that are scheduled for demolition.

Future exercises aim to test a number of operational areas and give firefighters the opportunity to experience a realistic fire and evacuation scenario in a high-rise building. It will test operational procedures for high rise fires, evacuation methods and the lines of communication during a large scale incident. This will also be an opportunity to test new equipment and procedures such as methods of entry and search techniques.

The exercise is the first in a planned series designed to prepare firefighters across the Service for any potential incident across Merseyside, with a large exercise involving fire crews from across the North West planned in the summer.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service aims to keep any disruption to a minimum -the Service is publicising the exercise widely to make residents aware that this is a training event and not a real fire, avoiding false alarm calls to fire control. However, if there is any doubt, members of the public should always dial 999.

The exercise will be thoroughly evaluated and any learning outcomes will be shared both locally and nationally in an effort to improve safety for all and hopefully reduce the possibility of future high-rise fires.



Steve Thomas, Station Manager for Kirkby Community Fire Station said:

‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us to carry out an exercise in a realistic environment. While the risk of a serious high rise fire in Merseyside is low thanks in large part to our preventative work in the community and ongoing work by Fire Protection officers, the Grenfell Tower tragedy is a constant reminder of what can happen when those risks become real.

With this exercise we aim to test current procedures and national guidance, ensuring that they are robust, effective and fit for the future. We would like to thank the local community and Knowsley Housing Trust for giving us the opportunity to carry out this exercise which will ultimately keep everyone in Merseyside safer.’

Tony Cahill, Executive Director at Knowsley Housing Trust, said:

“The safety and protection of our residents is of the upmost importance to us. We are working with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service to make sure we are fully prepared if a major incident does occur. In a post-Grenfell landscape, we are testing our robust fire safety procedures and hope to offer residents further security reassurance.”

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over or those referred by partner agencies.

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