Europe’s largest catastrophe simulation, that was developed to test the skills of the emergency services, not only helped develop the knowledge of vital services but for 46 students from Rotherham College’s media make-up department, it gave them the opportunity to take part in a fast-paced, time-constrained and real-life work environment.
The largest ever disaster training exercise in the 150 year history of the London Fire Brigade took place on Monday 29 February and lasted four days with firefighters, police officers and ambulance personnel from across London in a scenario based around a building collapsing onto a tube station in the capital. In order to create the most realistic environment possible, an entire tube station was recreated and then ‘crushed’ in a disused power station close to the Dartford river crossing.
With over 1,200 casualties to prepare, the media make-up staff and students from all levels of the subject and specialism were kept extremely busy recreating lacerations, amputees, bruises and many more. As they created the injuries, they were assessed for accuracy by medical professionals before the actors and volunteers were allowed to enter the scene.
Rotherham College HND Specialist Make-up student, Terrie Higgins, has a friend who works for the London Fire Brigade Health and Safety department. He contacted her and asked if she would like to take part. This was when she thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get the College involved and not only give her the opportunity to take part in the exercise but to also let her fellow students benefit from the experience.
Terrie said: “We worked on amputees, we did cuts and bruises, we worked with silicone and film and TV products, for special effects. It’s been a challenge but it’s been brilliant, it’s been an amazing experience.”
Rotherham College was the only Further Education provider to be invited to the exercise to support a professional casualty events company in preparing the actors and general public that volunteered to help make the occasion feel as realistic as possible.
Curriculum Leader for Media Make-up, Kelly Carr, said: “We’re so proud of our students. This exercise has actually got them well-rehearsed for going out into the industry. They are very good time managers and they can work under pressure. So dealing with those numbers of causalities was a challenge but they did it brilliantly. The paramedics and emergency services congratulated on how well they did.”
The College’s media make-up department recently received the prestigious Beacon Award from the Association of Colleges in recognition of the exceptional practical teaching and learning delivered at the College.
For more information about hair and beauty courses at Rotherham College please visit: www.rotherham.ac.uk