New £1.5m facility trains ambulance staff to respond to major incidents

The 360 degree interactive training suite can be used to simulate a range of incidents in different environments.

A new £1.5m Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) special operations training and logistics facility has opened in Edinburgh.

The facility in Newbridge will be used for a range of training exercises, including how to respond to major events such as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

It also includes a 360 degree interactive training suite that can be used to simulate a range of incidents in different environments – including emergency departments, night clubs and industrial sites.

Health secretary Michael Matheson has visited the base to learn about what type of training will be carried out at the facility, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

He said: “This facility will be a valuable asset in allowing staff to train in a realistic but safe environment.

“Giving them the chance to experience different scenarios which could be out of the usual confines of their daily routine is so important as it will give them the confidence, resilience and knowledge of how to respond.

“Our ambulance staff run to help those in times of need and it is right that we give them the tools to allow them to do that and this training facility will do that.”

As part of SAS’s civil contingencies response programme, the training facility will be used as a centralised training location and a dedicated equipment logistics hub.

SAS chief executive Pauline Howie said: “We are delighted to open this new training facility today and id like to thank all the staff involved. It has been an incredible effort and our NRRD (National Risk and Resilience) department is a vital part of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“This training facility will be invaluable for our staff who respond to both large and challenging incidents. This can include treating and conveying patents from challenging inaccessible and confined location including water, chemical accidents and incidents involving a large number of people.

“This facility will help us prepare to respond to these large-scale and complex incidents safely and provide the best care to our patients.”

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