Wiltshire

Derelict Swindon College in Rapid UK disaster training

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Media captionThe old Swindon College site was used to replicate an earthquake-hit building

A derelict college in Swindon has been used for training once more - by a charity that sends rescue teams to war and disaster zones.

Fifteen volunteers, selected by Rapid UK from more than 900 applicants, are taking part in a five-day fictional earthquake exercise involving sites across the west country.

The old college site was used to replicate an earthquake-hit building.

The team was also deployed to search an area of Dartmoor for casualties.

About 100 local people have helped bring the scenario to life by playing different roles.

'Unstable walls'

Gillian Dacey, from the charity, said of the Swindon site: "This is very realistic for us and what's particularly important is sites like this simulate the hazards that we would expect to find in an earthquake zone - the loose metal, the glass, the debris, the unstable walls."

She said it took nearly two years of regular training to develop the skills needed to work effectively in such environments, and the exercise aimed to test those skills.

The team assembled at the charity's Gloucester headquarters after the "earthquake" struck on Tuesday.

They were then deployed to Dartmoor, rescuing casualties from fast flowing water along the way.

There was then a simulated border crossing close to Exeter, followed by a series of technical searches to locate and rescue casualties buried deep beneath collapsed buildings.

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