London Underground carriages buried in rubble, people covered in blood and emergency crews working together to rescue as many of them as possible. It may look and sound like a scene from a movie or terrible nightmares, but this is genuinely happening right now.
Police officers, ambulance staff, firefighters and over 1,000 volunteer victims are currently involved in Europe’s largest disaster training exercise, which is set to run in four London locations and a disused power station in Dartford for four days this week.
The drill is based on a scenario in which a tower block has collapsed onto Waterloo Tube station, and the performance of the emergency teams from around the country is being analysed by ‘independent evaluators’. Temporary mortuaries have even been set up, to make it look as realistic as possible.
"You can't get this sort of experience from a text book," said London Fire commissioner Ron Dobson. "We need to play it like it's real and ensure that should the worst happen, our response is effective and well-co-ordinated." It's some length to go to, but if it helps prepare us for the worst, this will all no doubt be worth it. [BBC, Standard]