The Camperdown Emergency Exercise is an annual multi-agency exercise carried out at Caledon West Wharf and Nynas Refinery in Dundee, Scotland. It is an example of Nynas’ ongoing work with local emergency services to improve emergency procedures.
For the most recent event, it was decided to increase the level of challenge and realism in the exercise by using actors to represent the human cost of industrial accidents instead of casualty simulators (dummies).
Actors were used in two ways to test procedures more rigorously:
- to show authentic and unpredictable human responses to fear and pain which emergency personnel had to manage
- to challenge personnel on the ground and at HQ by playing inquisitive journalists and anxious relatives.
Having to respond to real people meant there was no complacency among the crews. It also produced a more shocking and realistic atmosphere, so we will be better prepared for the real thing – particularly dealing with burns victims. Feedback from the actors has also helped us identify better response procedures.
Roy Dunsire, Station Manager of Tayside Fire and Rescue
Working with actors participants are challenged to engage emotionally with what’s happening. Any complacency has immediate consequences in the form of reactions from the actors, so there is little room for the standard ‘tick box’ approach.
As a result of the Camperdown Emergency Exercise, Nynas has gained valuable insights which they have incorporated into their continuous improvement strategy as well as the training of their employees so that procedures are more relevant, clearer and easier to use.