Since Thursday night, 14 voluntary disaster responders have been undertaking five days of challenging scenarios, set in a fictional country, but occurring across Devon & Wiltshire. The #FakeQuake exercise was set up by Serve On to provide the team with a realistic experience to draw on when they respond for real to support communities in the aftermath of a major disaster.
Since deploying into FakeQuake, the team have walked through the night to assess needs in remote villages, negotiated through tense situations and hostile border crossings and rescued casualties from the River Dart.
In the last 24 hours, the team has been based in a disaster simulation village, rescuing casualties trapped inside collapsed buildings, and locating missing people using arrange of search techniques – ably supported by rescue dogs Brandy & Jake.
The team established a base camp and communications centre to co-ordinate their rescue activities, and have been living out of their rucksacks just as they would during a real disaster. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and #FakeQuake is designed to develop their confidence and ability to deploy into the chaos of a real disaster.
Johnny Mercer MP visited the disaster exercise today, watching rescues unfold and reviewing Serve On’s volunteer disaster response capability within the UK, as well as internationally. He met with team members who deployed into quakes in Nepal and Haiti, and veterans who have found a renewed sense of purpose within the Serve On team.
The team has now been inside the exercise for more than 48 hours, grabbing very little sleep whenever and wherever they can. Day 2 closed with the team scaling the iconic Tamar Bridge Tower, before returning to demolition sites in the Exmouth area.