An empty residential site in Shaftsbury has been turned into a training ground by local firefighters practising vital lifesaving techniques.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a number of training exercises on a vacant site belonging to Churchill Retirement Living. The specialist retirement developer plans to build 38 apartments on the site on Coppice Street and has lent the land to the rescue service to practice on before the existing buildings are demolished.
The site is currently home to six empty residential homes, which the fire service used to practice search and rescue techniques as well as forced entry methods. Properties were heavily smoke logged with artificial smoke as the crew forced their way in. Following a complete search of the property in almost zero visibility, the crew successfully recovered four practice dummies.
Matt Scott, station commander at Shaftesbury Fire Station, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Churchill Retirement Living for allowing us to use this site to carry out various training exercises. It’s vital that our firefighters get the opportunity to train for scenarios in as realistic circumstances as possible and Churchill has kindly provided this unique training opportunity.
“It’s not often that the fire service gets to practice on empty houses like this as we often meet great challenges when sourcing realistic venues for scenario training. We don’t usually get the chance to break down doors and windows or cut holes in the properties where we train so this has been an invaluable hands on experience for us.
"Our firefighters work hard to constantly develop their skills and we greatly appreciate the chance to conduct realistic training within our own area. Rural communities are often short of firefighters, and anyone looking for motivating and rewarding paid employment should look at the recruitment section of our website.”
Kevin Sharp, pre-commencement contracts manager at Churchill Retirement Living, said: “Churchill Retirement Living likes to write to the emergency services when we are starting at a new site to advise them about the demolition and offer the use of the site to help with their training. Matt and his team will also be returning at a later date to carry out a tower crane rescue exercise once construction begins on-site. We are always happy to help the emergency services and assist in whatever way we can to enable them to carry on with the fantastic work that they do.”
Churchill Retirement Living’s new retirement development in Shaftesbury is located just to the edge of the town centre and will comprise 38 private, self-contained apartments that are specially designed for retired Owners, with features such as a video-entry system, lift to all floors, a 24 hour care and support system, and a Lodge Manager.
Communal facilities will include an Owners’ Lounge, Guest Suite and landscaped gardens. Like all Churchill Retirement Living Developments, the location has been chosen for convenience and is within easy walking distance of the wide selection of shops and amenities of Shaftesbury town centre and has good public transport links.
For more information or to register your interest, please call 0800 458 1856 or click here.