Emergency exercise highlights danger of texting and driving

Norfolk exercise highlights the dangers of texting and driving

Norfolk exercise highlights the dangers of texting and driving - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people received a stark warning about the dangers of texting and driving during an emergency exercise in Norfolk.

A two vehicle road traffic collision, with four casualties, was simulated outside East Norfolk Sixth Form College, in Gorleston, on Friday, May 6, with response teams from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and Norfolk Constabulary.

The ‘incident’ involved a head-on collision after a driver, who had been texting, swerved into an oncoming car. Students from the college volunteered to play the casualties.

The road was closed initially then promptly re-opened to single lane with police managed traffic control. Students received a road safety input from officers to help keep them, and their families, safe on the county’s roads.

Sgt Ben Millican, from Norfolk Constabulary who organised the event, said: “18 months ago I began a project to improve the way the three emergency services worked together in the Great Yarmouth area. This has led to the formation of the GY Emergency Service Collaboration Panel that meet quarterly. The panel is consists of myself, Watch Manager Martin Harris (GY Fire) and Mark Little from Waveney Ambulance depot.

“This exercise is hopefully the first of many that we will do. Other areas we would like to tackle are scenarios involving mass casualties and mass evacuations as these are situations where our ability to work together really could mean the difference between life and death for those involved.

“We have also set up inter-service “ride-alongs” to give front line staff a perspective of the other service’s needs and priorities, which should lead to better communication and team work when jointly responding to incidents.

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“We would be keen on having a tri-service challenge event to raise money for local charities and would welcome ideas from local people, businesses and attractions as to what we could do and what cause we could aide.

“I would like to thank the staff from all three services, as well as the staff and pupils of East Norfolk Sixth Form College, for giving up their time to help make this event happen. A special acknowledgment needs to go to Crew Manager Andrew Hooker. He put in a lot of effort on behalf of the Fire Service to organise things at their end but then couldn’t take part due to breaking his leg only days earlier.”

Mark Little, an EEAST duty locality officer, said it was a “huge success” with around 300 people watching.

“This was an excellent example to engage people about the dangers of using mobile phones whilst driving and it certainly had an impact on those observing.

“The exercise also demonstrated excellent co-working with the external agencies which were monitored for JESIP (Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme) compliance.”