Warning: this post contains images some might find distressing. None of the injuries or scenes depicted are real. If you would like to read this post without images, please click here
Somewhere in the middle of the Welsh countryside, nestled in the Brecon Beacons, is a strange eerie uninhabited village. Its buildings have no windows, and are boarded up with metal sheets and every now and then, the sound of gunfire can be heard in the distance. Its called Sennybridge, a purpose-built training village for the Army and, on 16th September, it was the scene of a mass-casualty training event for the Hereford & Worcester, and Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Services. After being roped in by my friend Katie, I went along as a volunteer to do a little bit of role-playing and help make the staged scenario as real as possible for the fire crews responding. It’s a day I don’t think I’ll be forgetting in a hurry.
The scenario was scarily topical, and involved a pedestrian area with several road accidents. When we arrived, there were cars and lorries already in place, and several ‘dead bodies’ (fairly realistic-looking, dressed sacks) of varying sizes and ages were strewn across the scene. As volunteers, it was our role to bring the scene to life. Some were trapped in (or under!) vehicles, most of us played the roles of walking wounded with a few unharmed bystanders, some with first-aid skills.
I was assigned to Micro Scenario 1 as a walking wounded casualty. Our part of the scene involved two collided vehicles, with a poor bloke in one car trapped in-between them by his leg. They pulled out all the stops to make it look as realistic as possible – we were all made up with latex lacerations, and the part of the man with his leg trapped was played by an amputee with a very gruesome looking leg prosthetic complete with a blood squirting mechanism. There was already blood pooling under the cars and running down the street. Around the corner, another two cars had collided with some scaffolding and a man was pinned in his car by a piece of scaffolding pole that had gone right though him. Yeah, gruesome stuff.