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Joint team mobilises for a 'fire' on Mount

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 14, 2013

  • Wearing breathing apparatus, two firefighters emerge from the 'smoke-filled' house.

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FIREFIGHTERS from both watches at Penzance Community Fire Station, the crew of the Penlee lifeboat and island staff have taken part in a fire exercise on St Michael's Mount.

The aim was to test part of the Mount's fire plan unused during previous training opportunities.

The scenario – a house fire with people trapped – challenged firefighters to reach the island at high tide using the lifeboat Ivan Ellen and the inshore rescue boat Paul Alexander.

It also tested the response of Mount staff, who have some firefighting equipment that is periodically tested by the fire service and are the first responders to fires on the Mount.

The Penzance station responded to the call by sending nine firefighters with their equipment to rendezvous with the Penlee lifeboat at Newlyn.

Under the supervision of coxswain Patch Harvey and the lifeboat crews, the firefighters and their gear were taken out to the Mount to be met by staff and directed to the authentically smokelogged house.

Dummy 'casualties' hidden inside were quickly found and accounted for by the searchers.

Watch manager Ian Neal said: "The aim was to maintain, build and test our professional working relationships with other vital agencies that would respond to what would be an incident of international interest."

Mr Harvey said: "It was very worthwhile for both the lifeboat crew and the fire service; the exercise went really well with no problems at all, in fairly rough sea conditions.

"I have no doubt that in a real situation both crews would do their best to prevent any fatalities."

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