Firefighters joined police officers and the ambulance service in a chemical training exercise in a disused part of a leisure complex in Hemel Hempstead.
The teams wore gas-tight suits to carry out the exercise in former nightspots Jumpin’ Jaks and Lava Ignite at the Leisure World complex in Jarman Park.
Temporary inflatable showers were erected so that crews were able to simulate the washing down and decontamination of casualties before they were handed over to the waiting ambulance.
Paul said: “Post 9/11 things changed, as before it was the fire service that traditionally went into hazardous situations as they were the only ones who had the correct breathing apparatus.”
Five fire engines attended the exercise, with around 50 personnel from all three services involved.
Alex Perks, who is part of a police support unit based at Hitchin, said: “The role of the police is to co-ordinate an emergency response and identify hazards within the premises. We take part in these exercises so that we’re prepared to react and work with our partner agencies.”
The Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), which is made up of specially-trained ambulance crews who are able to go into hazardous situations previously reserved for firefighters, were also at the scene.
Station commander at Hemel Hempstead fire station Dick Lawrence said: “These exercises test our procedures and resources to make sure we’re working effectively with the other emergency services.
“The unit goes out about 20 times a year, dealing with calls about anything from asbestos to larger-scale chemical spills.”
In the run up to Christmas day, the team from Hemel Hempstead fire station will be out and about talking to shoppers about candle and Christmas light safety.
The crew will be at Sainsburys in Apsley Mills tomorrow, at Asda in Hillfield Road on Thursday and in the Marlowes on Friday.
They will also be offering free home safety checks, too. More information on booking these can be found here.