TEN fire engines and more than fifty firefighters rushed to the
Heinz factory in Wigan as part of a large scale training exercise
organised by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
The exercise, which was held at the Kitt Green based site on
Sunday, January 26, also involved crew from Heinz fire service, and
both Lancashire (LFRS) and Merseyside (MFRS) Fire and Rescue
Wigan Borough Manager Steve Sheridan said: "Despite some testing
wet weather conditions, the exercise was a great opportunity to
test procedures with Heinz, with the scenario being a smoke filled
warehouse filled with casualties.
"We have a great partnership with the company - who are one of
the largest food manufacturers in Europe - and with over 1,000
people employed at the Kitt Green site, we were able to put things
to the test so we can be prepared should a genuine emergency at the
"The exercise unfolded in real time, with Heinz fire service on
site first and Wigan crews being joined by crew from neighbouring
Fire and Rescue Services from both Merseyside and Lancashire.
"Our volunteers played the parts of live casualties and GMFRS'
Technical Response Unit (TRU) was able to perform a successful
rescue of a casualty with a broken leg from a gantry."
The TRU - which has been operational since December - is
designed to provide enhanced skills and specialist response for the
whole of Greater Manchester and is comprised of two vehicles crewed
by 54 specially trained staff based at both Leigh and Ashton fire
The locations provide wide geographical cover with the ability
to reach any part of the county within 25 minutes, whilst still
being available for life-risk incidents, including fire and road
The training exercise was designed for all the fire crew
involved to learn and be prepared in the event of a real incident
at the site.
Firefighters involved came from GMFRS fire stations in Wigan,
Leigh, Hindley, Atherton and Bolton Central as well as MFRS'
Newton-le-Willows Fire Station, LFRS' Skelmersdale Fire Station and
Heinz's on site fire service.
Nigel Dickie from Heinz said: "As the home of Britain's best
loved brand this exercise was a great way for our own fire service
to train alongside GMFRS."