Firemen train on Cromer pier

Firemen dashed to Cromer pier on Monday night and searched for missing casualties in a darkened theatre - but it was just an exercise.The routine training session was to help fire fighters from Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley, Stalham and North Walsham familiarise themselves with the Pavilion in case they have to deal with any incidents on the landmark jetty.

Firemen dashed to Cromer pier on Monday night and searched for missing casualties in a darkened theatre - but it was just an exercise.

The routine training session was to help fire fighters from Cromer, Sheringham, Mundesley, Stalham and North Walsham familiarise themselves with the Pavilion in case they have to deal with any incidents on the landmark jetty.

The simulated emergency allowed the crews to test their key skills in an 'identified risk area' including their ability to access water supplies, search unfamiliar buildings while using breathing apparatus and manage large incidents.

Pier manager Ian Hall said the last major exercise was about four years ago, and the latest one was aimed at boosting confidence among firemen and pier staff if anything was to happen at the venue.

Some pier staff, including ushers, bar workers and technicians, were involved in the session, which involved finding live and dummy bodies in the backstage area.

Mr Hall said 20 staff and about 30 firemen took part. Many people lined the cliffs to watch the action - but 'when they saw the firemen spraying water on to the sea rather than the pier they would have realised it was an exercise.'

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John Baker, temporary station manager for the Eastern Area fire service, said he hoped the exercise would allow those involved to identify problem areas and ensure they were well equipped to deal with emergencies in the future.