MOTORISTS travelling on the M40 and other major routes in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire this weekend will be in for a surprise when they see 15 fire engines travelling in convoy with “blues and twos” in full action.
The convoy is all part of a special training exercise devised to test the West Midlands Fire Service’s response to a major incident. A total of 110 fire officers and support staff will be taking part in the training.
The exercise – codenamed Morpheus – will be taking place this Saturday, November 7 and will see fire crews making the journey from the NEC in Birmingham along the M40 motorway and other A and B roads to the National Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire.
The convoy is expected to set off at 10am and will join the A452 towards Warwick. The fire appliances will be accompanied by police motorcyclists from Warwickshire Police. The group will stop at the Southbound Warwick Services before continuing on to the Fire College in Moreton where the real test begins.
Adrian Baldock, Station Commander and organiser of the exercise, said: “Exercises like this are a very important part of fire officer training. We need to ensure that all our fire officers are ready and equipped to deal with a major incident of any nature – this includes being able to travel safely to the destination, carry out an arduous simulation exercise and then return to the West Midlands area.
“The complete exercise will involve a simulated major breathing apparatus search and rescue incident at the National Fire College in Gloucestershire. By carrying out practical training of this nature, we are able to test our procedures and help prepare our staff for real life situations.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public of the West Midlands that operational cover will not be affected by having so many fire crews involved in this exercise. This has taken months of planning to ensure that the safety of the public is not affected and full cover will be maintained in the West Midlands Fire Service area.
“We also wanted to let the public know what we are doing so that people are not unduly alarmed by the sight of 15 fire engines in convoy on the public highway.”