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1 May 2012

Lancashire-based emergency services and recovery partners rushed to attend a massive incident at Salmesbury Aerodrome – where an invited audience gathered to witness the multi-agency training exercise organised and co-ordinated by FMG, the Highways Agency’s first National Vehicle Recovery Manager.

The aim of the demonstration day was to give the various agencies and organisations involved in managing traffic incidents the opportunity to witness the process from start to finish, to improve their knowledge and understanding of procedures, specialist kit and the capabilities of partners.

The Highways Agency’s Head of On-road Operations (North), John McTaggart said: “The scale, realism and professionalism of this event, and the sheer level of planning, was very impressive.

“It has given us all a good chance to see specialist kit in operation in a safe environment. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often, and are extremely helpful. We can all learn more about each other’s roles, and perhaps find ways to help others do their jobs more effectively by making minor adjustments to our own processes.”

Organisations involved included FMG, the Highways Agency, fire and medical teams from Lancashire Fire Service and NHS Trust, recovery operators Egertons and Macadams, with students from Blackburn College drafted in to play casualties. In addition to those taking part in the demonstration, FMG invited members of their in-house teams and clients including the Equine Rescue Services and GE.

FMG’s Chief Executive Officer, John Catling said: “We have been the National Vehicle Recovery Manager since 2008 and in that time have developed close and effective working relationships with all partners involved in the clearing of roads.

“The event offered both partners and spectators the rare opportunity to witness a major incident and observe how the emergency services and our recovery operators work seamlessly together. “Exercises such as this one are only ever as good as those taking part, and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the event.”

It was the first time many had seen a recovery operation close-up. Many were surprised at the formality of the structures and procedures used by the various agencies, while others were interested to learn more about the length of time vehicle recovery can take.