WHITCHURCH firefighters were joined by colleagues from Prees and Newport as they held a simulation exercise in the town.

The drill, taking place at the empty Whitchurch swimming pool, took place on Thursday, May 12 to prepare firefighters for the scenarios they could potentially come across on the job.

Matt Angel, from the Group Support Team of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), said the scenario was search and rescue

He explained: "The scenario is, obviously a disused swimming pool, some kids have gone in there.

"We have got persons reported and the crews will then just turn up.

"The idea tonight really is to test all our procedures and make sure everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet really."

Matt said many of those who took part in the drill are on-call and combine other jobs with their commitment as firefighters.

He explained: "All the crews here, this is their secondary employment and they do it for their community which is really good.

"The level of skills they have got, considering the amount of time they have to train, is very high.

"Considering this is their secondary employment, it is a lot of dedication and commitment."

One of those overseeing the drill was Simon Griffiths, watch manager at Whitchurch Fire Station.

Simon has served in Whitchurch for more than 40 years and has dealt with numerous incidents during his service and said one of the incidents he had to deal with was the aftermath of a bombing by the Provisional IRA in 1989.

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He added: "It is hard to comprehend really.

"The one that sticks in my mind was the IRA bomb attack at Tern Hill Barracks.

"We were fourth pump to it.

"We went into the building to make sure no soldiers were still there.

"We had to crawl through the rubble.

"At the time when we arrived, we still did not know whether the terrorists were still in the camp.

"They said to us when we arrive if we hear any shooting hit the deck and stay there."

The exercise concluded and Philip Wragg, a commander in SFRS, said it was the first exercise some of the firefighters had been on and said it was invaluable.

Philip said: "We had one from Whitchurch, he only passed out three weeks ago.

"This was his first one and he was first crew in.

"Because we do not get a lot of big jobs anymore these things are invaluable.

"It gives team working, it is good liaising between different stations.

"It has been a good exercise."

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