Uniformed public service students from Bracknell and Wokingham College had their mettle tested in a mock chemical attack organised by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The fictional scenario in the exercise, held at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, involved an unknown chemical powder being thrown into the crowd. Student Abi McMullen, 18, from Warfield, said: “It was good to see the ways in which chemical incidents are dealt with in the real world and I also believe it was good practice for the fire service.
“We were given all the right equipment to use like it was a real incident, so now we have the knowledge if this was to happen with any of us present.”
Despite the fire crew running the exercise having to leave the exercise twice to attend actual incidents in the area – house fires – the session was viewed as a success.
Nigel Pumffrey, senior tutor in uniformed public services at Bracknell and Wokingham College, said: “This made it a long night for the students but they were a credit to the college and it was a good experience for them to be able to help and work with the fire and rescue service.
“This will add to their knowledge of how major incidents are dealt with.”
As well as playing the part of the victims, students were also shown the whole process of decontaminating a scene, from the proper use of safety gear to providing showers for anyone affected by chemical materials.
Mary Freyne, 18, from Harmans Water, said: “Even though the weather was awful and cold the exercise went well considering the firefighters had to attend real incidents across Berkshire while the exercise was going on.”