West Sussex firefighters to take part in Shoreham Airport crash exercise

FIRE crews will be called into emergency action tonight (October 31) following an aircraft crash near Shoreham Airport.

The crash is being simulated as part of a West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service training exercise.

Crews from Shoreham, Worthing and Littlehampton Fire Stations will all be taking part alongside Shoreham Airport’s own fire service.

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The scenario, in which a 999 call is received reporting that a light aircraft with two people on board has crash landed close to the airport, is designed to fully test the crews search and rescue skills as well as the airport’s emergency plans.

A scrap light aircraft is being used for the exercise. Fire crews will be conducting their search and rescue mission in the dark with areas of live fire around the simulated accident site making search conditions as unpredictable and challenging as possible.

Mark Ross, Watch Commander for Shoreham Fire Station who is overseeing the exercise, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Shoreham Airport on this exercise.

“This kind of ‘hands on’ training gives crews an invaluable opportunity to learn and continuously improve in a very practical way. Of course, this is a scenario that none of us would wish to be faced with, but by putting our skills, resources and equipment to the test it ensures we are fully prepared for similar incidents in real life.”

Shoreham Airport’s senior fire officer, Paul Smith, added: “We take our safety responsibilities extremely seriously at Shoreham Airport and undertake training exercises like this with West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service on a regular basis so we can be fully prepared for every eventuality.”

The exercise, which starts at 7.30pm and finishes at 9.30pm, is being run outside of the airport’s normal operating hours and will not affect any flight departures or arrivals.

Read a full report about the training exercise in Thursday’s Herald and Gazette.