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Students at Nescot were involved in a top-secret emergency services training exercise on Ministry of Defence land on Tuesday (October 4).

About 40 students travelled to a base in the west of England for a simulated terrorist attack, planned to give hundreds of police, paramedics and firefighters the change to practice their response.

Uniformed Public Services students acted as the victims in the exercise, while Hair and Media Makeup students created realistic injuries including bullet wounds and fractures.

“This was a very interesting exercise for our students to be involved in, and we’re glad they could assist the emergency services,” said David Walrond, Deputy Principal for Curriculum and Quality.

“All our students got genuine, tangible experience in their chosen professions, in a situation that they won’t forget.”

The specific details of the scenario are confidential, but it involved a marauding terrorist attack and focussed on the armed police response, triaging of patients and communication between agencies.

Uniformed Public Services students have just been learning about how to plan and respond to emergency incidents, and tutor Chris Gill said the exercise was an ‘ideal opportunity’ for them.

“It was invaluable for our students to experience first-hand what they’ve been learning about at college,” said Chris, a former firefighter and fire and rescue group manager.

“We’ve been able to talk about lots of different aspects, from specific operational considerations to thinking about how emergency services personnel decompress after a traumatic incident.”

Second-year Level 3 student Aaron Mackey is aiming to become an armed response police officer in the future, and said the incident had given him an insight into what a day in the role could be like.

“It was a really interesting exercise to be part of,” he added. “It made me think about the different roles in a big incident and how the different services work together.”

Hair and Media Makeup students used new products and techniques to create the injuries, working to a plan and to tight timescales to make sure all the ‘victims’ were ready in time.

Level 3 student Paige Kemp, who is hoping to study prosthetics and special effects makeup at university next year, created a gunshot wound, leg fracture and shock.

“We had to work really quickly and be very organised, so it was a lot of pressure but really fun,” she said. “It was a really good experience for what I want to do in the future and I definitely learnt a lot.”

Nescot offers full-time and university-level qualifications in Uniformed Public Services, as well as full-time courses in Hair and Media Makeup.