Feature: Railway Exercise with Civil Defence & Irish Red Cross

Date Published : April 27th, 2016    Published By : admin

A major railway exercise took place close to Heuston station and the Phoenix Park in Dublin, involving around 200 members of the Civil Defence and Irish Red Cross.

The focus of the exercise was a terror related incident which resulted in a Limerick bound train colliding with an obstruction in the Tunnel. Overall there were about 200 members of the Civil Defence Irish Red Cross were involved in the exercise which took place on 10th April last.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

On arrival at the scene, Civil Defence and Red Cross teams were faced with a distressed situation, with a lot of casualty’s trying to exit the tunnel. Given the scale of the incident and the numbers of casualties and their injuries, a Casualty identification and priority system was implemented.

2nd Officer Phil McGavin, Dublin Civil Defence: “When we arrived, we noted a lot of casualties shouting and screaming so we had to quickly priorities who was able to walk, help  themselves and those that couldn’t. Because the Civil Defence is a voluntary organisation, we don’t get to see these incidents too often so its important that that we keep training in the event that t does happen in real life and we can be ready for such events”.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

As hospitals across the city were overwhelmed, many casualties from the train were treated on the train or in the tunnel. A triage was set up outside the tunnel where other casualties were taken until hospital transfer was available.

The walking wounded were taken off the train using ladders while Civil Defence members used railway boogies to bring other casualties a distance of a half a mile from inside the tunnel to the outside.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

A total of 86 passengers were on board the train. 30 people were uninjured, 25 were described as walking wounded while 24 passengers were seriously injured. Six people died in the incident while one person was unaccounted for.

 

EMERGENCYTIMES BOX ADVERT

Speaking to Emergency Times on the day of he exercise, Commander Gerry Doyle of Dublin Civil Defence outlines what the scenario was. “We were tasked to deal with a rail incident in the tunnel. We had between 80 and 90 causalities on a train with varying injuries. This is a huge learning curve for us, particularly at officer level where they would be asked to step-up to roles which they wouldn’t normally fill and it does have huge training value for the crews itself and officers who are required to manage these sort of operations”.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

Overall there were about 200 members of the Civil Defence Irish Red Cross were involved. The exercise was to test the capabilities of the Civil Defence in such an event. It was also a learning curve for many of the volunteers who would not normally be faced with scenes such as this.

One leader with Dublin Civil Defence is Robbie O’Neill who told Emergencytimes.com everything is team work. “All the training that we do on a weekly basis comes together on days like this, and it’s how we all work together as a team. Today was a good training day. A lot of effort and a lot of hard work was put in by all the volunteers”.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

Irish rail was the lead authority for the exercise and plans for the exercise between Irish rail and Dublin Civil defence have been ongoing for over four months.

Specialist equipment used by the Civil Defence was the new lighting and back-up lighting system. Four inflatable tents were used to treat casualties while Tetra and VHF radio systems were used to communicate between teams on the train, inside the tunnel and those in the Command & Control Unit, which was also used as a Forward Control.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

Training for these events is crucial among the voluntary services, and having volunteers faced with these situations is a major learning curve for all involved. Dublin Civil Defence Officer James McConnell said the exercise was a success and it provides the volunteers with hands on experience outside of the classroom.

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Photo: (James McConnell, Dublin Civil Defence Officer)

Civil Defence Officer for Dublin City &County is James McConnell. “The exercise was n conjunction with Dublin Civil Defence, Irish Red Cross and Irish rail. About 200 volunteers from Dublin Civil defence and about 15 from Red Cross and we simulated a train hitting an obstruction n the tunnel. The exercise was to test our logistical emergency lighting and medical capabilities and setting up a triage system to evacuate patients. It was a very good test for our volunteer officers; you can’t do this in the classroom.

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Photo: (Les Kelly/EmergencyTimes.com)

The exercise was observed by members of the Dept of Defence, Health Service Exercise and An Garda Siochana.

Photo Gallery below video

Photo Gallery: All Photos: Les Kelly @emergencytimes