News story

Okehampton supports Ambulance Service exercise

Dartmoor Training Area and Okehampton Battle Camp were the location of a simulated aviation incident for a training exercise recently.

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team, who organised the exercise at Okehampton, were testing their capabilities, and those of several other agencies, in responding to a mass casualty exercise.

Exercise Indigo was designed to identify and explore the quality of care received by patients in a mass casualty situation and involved personnel from Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, RAF Search and Rescue, Dartmoor Search and Rescue, and the Wales and West Midlands Hazardous Area Response Teams.

On the day, a challenging scenario was set up where an aircraft crashed in an inaccessible area of Dartmoor and subsequently broke up. Those on the ground had the task of caring for and evacuating 29 live casualties with significant traumatic injuries.

Dartmoor Training Area and Okehampton Battle Camp are maintained by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which delivers the training service, enabling defence training users to live, work, train and deploy at home and overseas.

Talking about the exercise, Captain Ian Jarvis (Retired), Commandant and Training Area Safety Officer for the West Devon Training Areas, part of DIO Service Delivery Training South West, said:

Whilst DIO’s priority is to support our armed forces as they prepare for operations, Dartmoor is a diverse training area which also offers a wide range of facilities suitable for non-military users.

I was pleased that we were able to facilitate this important multi-agency training exercise, and particularly here on Dartmoor, as these were many of the agencies with whom the military need to work when there are incidents here and across the country.

A testing day for all, I was proud of the Dartmoor Training Area team who responded well by helping the visitors to establish the exercise scenario and enabling them to conduct the training using the training area and a number of the camp facilities.

Christian Wiggin, Hazardous Area Response Team Training/Deputy Manager, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Exercise Indigo was a large multi-agency training day. The day ran smoothly thanks to the invaluable support we received from the team at Okehampton. The exercise was a huge undertaking and the contribution of logistical support and welfare was essential.