On one corner twenty casualties amid the rubble of a bombed out superstore, on another badly injured men calling for help from a block of flats which has just suffered a massive explosion. And in the distance, a street where an armed man is still on the loose after shooting someone.
All, thankfully, scenarios organised by BASICS Hampshire with the help of medical and nursing students from Southampton University and of Amputees in Action, the Newbury-based group who specialise in scenes like these.
“Emergency services tend to deal with small numbers of casualties,” says Bruce Armstrong, BASICS Hampshire’s training officer, “but events of the last decade here and abroad have taught us we need to be geared up for mass casualties.”
Training alongside the emergency doctors were paramedics from South Central Ambulance Service, the Hazardous Areas Response Team, police, members of Urban Search and Rescue and firefighters.
“A scene like this, with so many critically injured, takes a great deal of handling,” says Dr Howard Simpson of BASICS Hampshire, who led one of the scenarios. “Time, clear thinking and communication are absolutely critical, which is why practising triage and teamwork in realistic conditions – with all the noise and mayhem – is key.”