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Fire and rescue training exercise carried out at Exeter landmark building

Published: 16 November 2023

Training exercise at Rennes House

A fire and rescue training exercise has taken place at one of Exeter’s tallest buildings.

Officers from the City Council worked alongside the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to take part in a major response to a staged fire inside Rennes House in Whipton on Wednesday evening.

The training exercise took place under real life conditions, which included smoke-filled rooms, fire alarms sounding and life-like dummies of people and pets being safely removed from the building.

The exercise involved a staged fire breaking out at 7pm on the ninth floor of the building. Alarms sounded and a total of 11 crews from across Exeter and nearby towns attended the scene.

A hydraulic platform was used by crews to reach anyone who may have been stranded.

Crowds gathered to watch the exercise, which continued until 10pm, and were reassured by Council officers that the drama was all part of a carefully organised training exercise.

Residents of Rennes House and nearby properties had been informed of the exercise in advance.

Sarah Chamberlain, who has responsibility for fire compliance at Exeter City Council, said: “This was an incredibly useful exercise for both the Council and the fire and rescue service to carry out. It was treated as a real-life situation and was very successful - we also learnt a lot from it.

“It is part of a series of training exercises we are carrying out with the fire and rescue service to make sure we learnt as many lessons as possible that may be useful in dealing with a real fire.

“I would like to thank all the residents for their patience and for enabling us to carry out this exercise – many of them came out to watch and they were all fantastic.”

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