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Triple vehicle ‘crash’ puts life-saving skills to the ultimate test


EMERGENCY services put their life-saving skills to the ultimate test in a mock road traffic collision in Rhyl.

The Welsh Ambulance Service joined forces with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and local BASICS doctors to stage the three-vehicle smash, which saw quick-thinking crews spring to the rescue of more than 20 'casualties.'

The majority of those were played by Coleg Llandrillo students, who feigned shock when their minibus 'collided' with a Peugeot 206 and an Austin Maestro.

Other actors were volunteers of the Casualties Union, which also provided realistic make-up and special effects on the day.

Also involved were state-of-the-art manikins complete with blinking eyes that react to light, and a drug recognition system which identifies any drug injected into the veins of the right arm.

Junior doctors controlled the manikins using a touch screen tablet, and could even alter their heartbeat and make them talk.

The exercise at Rhyl Fire Station was led by Dermot O'Leary, Clinical Team Leader at the Welsh Ambulance Service, and Suman Mitra, Consultant Anaesthetist at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.

Dermot said: "While the exercise might look and feel very dramatic, the reality is that our crews could encounter a collision like this at any time. Being able to recreate traumatic injuries and situations brings a new depth of training for our crews.

"The addition of the skills and knowledge of the BASICS teams and the fire and rescue service mean our crews are fully tested so that if their skills are called on for real they will be ready."

Dr Mitra added: "It is days like these when we, as emergency services, come together to discuss, learn and collaborate to ultimately help patients in life-threatening situations. We talk about our differences and similarities in equipment, procedures and training and then bring it all together in a simulated scenario.

"I always look forward to these days because it helps me and my colleagues act as a team when the real situation arises."

Ken Monks, Watch Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, also helped to oversee things on the day.

He said: "These simulated road traffic collisions are designed to improve emergency service inter-agency working and provide crews with the opportunity to work together within realistic training scenarios.

"We as a fire and rescue service attend a high number of collisions, so it is extremely beneficial for us to practice working together in partnership with other agencies in order to deliver the best possible care, both during and post incident to those unfortunate enough to be involved at the scene."

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