Live training exercise puts Tunbridge Wells Hospital and Emergency Services’ staff to the test
A fire in a hospital operating theatre was the focus of a live training exercise for emergency services at Tunbridge Wells Hospital on Wednesday 12 June.
Clinical teams and hospital staff from various departments, including estates, emergency planning and security, put their skills to the test as they worked alongside incident commanders from South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) Service, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), Kent Police and the Trust’s own Incident Commanders, as part of a co-ordinated response to the simulated incident.
To help make the conditions feel as real as possible, a smoke machine was used and the fire alarms activated in the areas surrounding the theatres.
Actors also played the parts of patients and concerned relatives trying to gain information from staff as they tried to deal with the fire and ensure the safety of patients and other staff members.
The exercise was organised by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells (MTW) NHS Trust’s Emergency Planning Team to test its emergency plans and ensure staff and partner agencies can respond effectively.
Signs were placed around the hospital and messages posted on the Trust’s social media platforms to inform the public that the exercise was taking place and not to be alarmed.
Sean Briggs, MTW NHS Trust’s Chief Operating Officer who is the board lead for Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR), said: ‘Emergency planning is critical to the Trust as it helps us to prepare for different emergency situations that may arise at any given time.
‘The benefit of recreating some of those emergency scenarios is that it allows us to test our plans and train our staff on how to manage their colleagues and patients under challenging circumstances whilst also highlighting the importance of working with the other emergency services to ensure a safe outcome for everyone involved. It is also a learning experience and allows our Emergency Planning Team to make any necessary changes to our plans.
‘We are really pleased with how our staff performed and grateful to Kent Police, KFRS and SECAmb for joining us on the day.’