London Fire Brigade Trains with Plane Crash Drill

The exercise scenario was a response after a Boeing 737 had crashed into a building beside the river in east London.

One of the London Fire Brigade's largest-ever exercises took place this weekend, with firefighting crews taking part in a three-day drill in responding to a plane crash. More than 220 emergency service personnel took part, including specialist urban search and rescue teams from London and across the country, the Metropolitan Police Service, and the London Ambulance Service.

The exercise scenario was a response after a Boeing 737 had crashed into a building beside the river in east London. It featured a real fuselage from a Boeing 737 plane, which a specialist rescue team from the London Fire Brigade spent four weeks installing inside "a large, derelict Victorian flour mill, known as Millennium Mills," along with 400 tonnes of rubble to make it a realistic scene after a plane strikes a building, according to the brigade's news release.

Real flames and smoke were used to make the scene look as convincing as possible and to create a challenging training environment for the rescue teams involved. Crash debris and working black box simulators were added for the Met Police Dive team to recover.

"Whilst this scenario may appear worrying for some, I would like to reassure the public that these sort of exercises are vital to ensure that rescue teams are fully prepared should something like this ever happen in London," London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said. "It is only through this kind of exercise that we can fully test our plans and ensure that all the agencies which would be involved can respond effectively, together, in a coordinated manner.

"Air traffic incidents are extremely rare, but it is my responsibility to ensure that our fire and rescue teams, working with the other emergency services, are ready in the unlikely circumstance that something catastrophic were to occur with a plane in the capital."

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